Tag Archives: C.S.Lewis

HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 18) Letter from 2-29-16 (Letters were inspired by the sermon series on ECCLESIASTES in 2016 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock)

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Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences.

NO SATISFACTION – Journey of Solomon – By Pastor Delbert Young sermonschangetheworld.com

I want you to play a game with me today. Here is how it works. You raise your hand if my question relates to you – humor me, okay? Let’s begin. First, raise your hand if you hate audience participation games where you have to raise your hand. Doesn’t matter because we are going to play the game anyway. Raise your hand if you are not totally SATISFIED with your cell phone coverage. Raise your hand if you are not totally SATISFIED with your current financial picture. Raise your hand if you are not SATISFIED with your body and the way you look. Let’s get a little more serious. Raise your hand if you are not SATISFIED with the job you are doing as a parent. I want you to raise your hand if you are not SATISFIED with the way you have been living your life and the way your life is going. Some of you cannot get any SATISFACTION, can you?

This is interesting. In 1965, there was a person who felt a lot like you do and he wrote a song called “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Who knows who this person is? Mick Jagger. It was over 40 years ago and you would think over a 40-year period he would get some satisfaction, but Mick is in his 60’s now and he is still looking for satisfaction. He is still wearing his tight jeans, dressing like a teen, wearing his hair long, and trying to jump around on a rock stage. I heard him on a talk show not long ago and he still “can’t get no satisfaction.” Here is what we are going to do so we can get into what I want to talk about. We are going to actually sing “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” We can do this in this church, maybe we couldn’t in some, but we will here. I cannot sing well, so if you do not participate, this could be really bad. Okay, on the count of three, One, Two, Three. “I can’t get no satisfaction. I can’t get no satisfaction. But I try and I try and I try and I try… I can’t get no….” Oh man, you are feeling it.

The reason I did this is we did not only sing a rock song by the Rolling Stones, we also sang the theme song to the lives of many people – some of you. Biblically, we also sang the soundtrack to the Book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is the private journal in the Bible of King Solomon who was King David’s son and successor. Solomon also went on a 40-year journey searching for satisfaction.

Let me tell you a little bit about King Solomon. When he started out as king, he had a very intimate, close relationship with God and God blessed him. God deposited leadership gifts and wisdom into his life. God gave him resources to build the kingdom. You name it and God gave it to Solomon. You probably remember the story when the Lord asked Solomon what he wanted.

1 Kings 3:5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

1 Kings 3:9 …give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

1Kings 3:11-13 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked… Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for – both riches and honor – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.

It was amazing. No one in the Bible did, or had, what Solomon did and had. He began very well and climbed quickly to success. Not long into it, something began to happen internally to Solomon. Internal erosion began eroding at the heart of Solomon. It seemed King Solomon hopped in his car/chariot and took a long trip away from God. For the next 40 years of his life, he wandered through life. King Solomon could not get any satisfaction and he wrote about it in the journal of his 40-year trip.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! EVERYTHING is meaningless.”

Solomon thought life was MEANINGLESS. We have a person who initially was full of excitement, purpose, and extremely willing to do anything God asked. Something happened. He moved away from God and wandered through a 40-year taste test/smorgasbord/buffet life searching for satisfaction.

Before you get too down on Solomon, how many remember how it was when you first came to the Lord? You were excited, purposed, extremely willing to do anything God asked. “Mission field? Sure, I’ll go.” You were excited about God, played praise tapes/cd, read your Bible, prayed, etc. However, it’s not like this today. Something happened. You got in your chariot and, for years now, you have been searching for satisfaction. Maybe you have been to several churches looking for a good word (I trust you found one). You tried some freedom and liberty and maybe changed your emphasis from God to work and money. Amazingly, this is exactly the roads Solomon traveled and he wrote about it in his journal. His first stop was searching for education.

Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 I devoted myself to search for UNDERSTANDING and to explore by wisdom EVERYTHINGbeing done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. EverythingUNDER THE SUN is meaningless, like CHASING THE WIND.

Amazing! God gave Solomon so much, yet Solomon felt he had a tragic existence. How about you? Solomon searched out EVERYTHING for understanding. He studied art, architecture, built magnificent buildings, studied music, composed 1,005 songs, studied astronomy, biology, etc. You name it, Solomon knew about it. He was so educated and knew so much people came from the entire world to hear Solomon speak.

1Kings 4:30-34 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man… He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life… He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom…

Solomon knew all there was to know about everything, but with all his education, Solomon said, “I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION.” So, he did what we all do. He continued searching. His next taste test was pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said to myself, “Come now, let’s give PLEASURE a try. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. “It is silly to be laughing all the time,” I said. “What good does it do to seek only pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine…

It was all about the women and the wine. It was the “HUGH HEFNER” lifestyle – Playboy mansion. He had wine and women night after night after night.

1 Kings 11:3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

Solomon slept with more women than he could remember. He drank the finest wines and said, “I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION.”

Solomon took another taste test from the smorgasbord. This time it would be possessions, money, and wealth.

Ecclesiastes 2:4-10 I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I HAD EVERYTHING A MAN COULD DESIRE! So I became greater than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. And with it all, I remained clear-eyed so that I could evaluate all these things. Anything I wanted, I took. I did not restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors.

Solomon found pleasure, but not satisfaction – big difference. Solomon built a huge life for himself. He had any possession a person could want. He could snap his fingers and people came running to provide his desires. He had more money than Bill Gates and Donald Trump added together. He was the most powerful person in the world. Nevertheless, do you know what? He said, “I can’t get NO SATISFACTION.”

Solomon did everything and tried everything including checking out religions. He married women from other religions only to find they took him even farther from satisfaction. Solomon tasted the education thing and said, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” He tasted the pleasure/sex/party thing and said, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” He tasted the possession, wealth, power thing and said, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” He tasted the religion thing and said, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

I will make certain we balance here. DOES GOD WANT YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND ENJOY LIFE? OF COURSE HE DOES, BUT IF THIS IS WHERE AND HOW YOU DETERMINE YOUR SATISFACTIONIN LIFE, YOUR LIFE WILL BE MEANINGLESS. Solomon was wealthy enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to search higher, deeper, and farther than anyone has ever searched and he said here is the conclusion.

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person.

The wisest man who ever lived who did it all, saw it all, tasted it all, felt it all, said this is it. THE CONCLUSION IS TO FIND GOD BEFORE DEATH FINDS YOU.

Fear God and obey his commands. Does God actually want us to ‘fear’ him as in be afraid of him? I thought God was like a wonderful father who loves and takes care of me. I don’t know I ‘fear’ or ‘feared’ my natural father. What’s up with this? Most people think the fear of God is thinking God has a holster full of lightening bolts just waiting for you to screw up and as soon as you do, bam, he zaps you. This is not the thought here or the context of the passage. Fearing God is not a fear of his “lightening bolts.” It is knowing not doing what he commands will not work well for our lives and the farther we distance ourselves from his commands, the worse our life goes. It is like, why would you fear jumping off a cliff? It is because the outcome would be bad. Injury is the least that will happen. The fear is I will severely mess up my life, not God zapping me with lightening bolts. Yet, I watch people jump off cliffs every day by not fearing if they disobey God’s ways they injure their own lives.

Solomon used the term “under the sun” in 27 different verses. Solomon did everything under the sun. His conclusion is to spend your days under the sun finding the God who lives above the sun.

Solomon uses the term meaningless 38 times. Solomon talked about the wind and chasing after the wind 14 times. Life goes by like the wind and people chase after nothing and reach for something emptiness. Do not do this. Spend time finding God. In your time under the sun, did you find the God who dwells above the sun?

What have you tasted? Maybe you have not tried it in the huge proportions Solomon tried, but in reality, you and I take sips every single day. For example, what do people do when a relationship does not satisfy them? They go out and taste test another. What do people do if their job does not satisfy them? They taste test a different job. Maybe you say if you had a great friend who would treat you great and be the kind of friend you really need then it would SATISFY you. Maybe you feel like if your kids would just obey you it would SATISFY you. Or, if they would turn out to be the kind of children you want them to be this would SATISFY you. If you can get your degree, or make the perfect grade then it would SATISFY you. If your husband would come to church with you, it would SATISFY you. Maybe for you it is money. You think if I could just get this much money it will SATISFY me. Maybe you are not happy with the way you look. Maybe a plastic surgery will SATISFY you or a new fad diet that works and the list goes on and on and on. One day you will pull over on the side of the road just like Solomon. You will look at your life and see you taste tested and it was all meaningless and none of it SATISFIED. You will say, “I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION.”

Did you see the movie “Meet Joe Black” staring Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt? Bard Pitt played the role of death (Joe Black) who came to take Anthony Hopkins (Bill Parrish). Bill is very successful, wealthy, powerful man, but one day Bill meets death face to face. (Let’s watch the clip.)

A day comes when we will all ask “the question.” It is, “Am I going to die?” WHEN YOU MEET DEATH FACE TO FACE AND EYE TO EYE, HOW WILL YOU REACT? Have you spent the necessary time, money, possessions, and wisdom searching for God, or have you merely searched for money, possessions, and earthly wisdom? What will be the outcome? Have you been truly successful? Have you found the God who dwells above the sun?

In the movie, it came time for Bill to go. Should he be afraid? Should you? One more clip… (watch the clip).

So, do you need to be afraid? Only you know. It depends on what you do under the sun concerning the God who dwells above the sun. It’s all meaningless, meaningless, meaningless – without Jesus.

Let’s pray.

Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard, Alistair Begg, Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee, C.S. Lewis, Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Ethan Renoe, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young ,  Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and Richard Zowie.

 

In the next few weeks I will be posting some letters that I sent to Hugh Hefner that were based primarily on the sermon series BETTER THAN which is a study in the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES done by our pastors at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock in 2016.  Our teaching pastors here are Mark Henry,

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Ben Parkinson

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and Brandon Barnard.

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Today’s letter is based on a sermon by Mark Henry.

Hugh Hefner: His Income and Girlfriends

07.20.13

The 87-year-old millionaire has an estimated net worth of $45 million. He amassed a huge wealth when he founded the Playboy Magazine.

Like father, like son, Hugh and Cooper pose in purple silk pyjamas at last

Mark Henry, teaching pastor at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH Little Rock

 

February 29, 2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

Back in 1980 Keith Green wrote and performed the song I PLEDGE MY HEAD TO HEAVEN and it summed up the Book Ecclesiastes well with these words:

Well I’ve had the chance to gain the world, and to live just like a king,
But without your love, it doesn’t mean a thing.

Without God in the picture all is vanity in life UNDER THE SUN and nothing means a thing!!! You would enjoy the music of this song and I want you to take 3 minutes to go to YOU TUBE and check out the performance on harmonica by Bob Dylan. 

Keith Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982) Keith and Bob Dylan recorded together in 1979-1980

Bob Dylan’s record GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY

 

The reason I have written you this long series of letters comparing you to King Solomon is because you both have slept with over 1000 women and you both lived like Kings.

On the website Lifetime.com under the heading: HUGH HEFNERBIOGRAPHY are these words:

Epitomizing the lifestyle promoted by his magazine, Hefner has also had a long line of mistresses. His girlfriends have included several Playboy Playmates of the Year, such as Marilyn Cole, Lillian Muller and Patty MacGuire.

I thought of you HUGH when I looked up the words the other day to the song GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY by Bob Dylan. It talks about mistresses, socialites, money, TV stars, business men, liquor, silk clothes, caviar, king-sized beds and living in a mansion and this all reminded me of your lifestyle.

In Bob Dylan’s song GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY are these lines:

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

Might be a rock’n’ roll adict prancing on the stage
Might have money and drugs at your commands, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief.

You may be a state trooper, you might be an young turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name.

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord you might even own banks.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

This Sunday February 28, 2016 our teaching pastor Mark Henry preached a sermon from Ecclesiastes 8 called THINKING OF YOURSELF LESS. In this sermon he talks about this Bob Dylan song GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY and below here is portion from that sermon:

Ecclesiastes chapter 7 is all about foolishness versus Wisdom. What is a fool as pictured in the Bible? A fool is not someone who lacks intellect. Foolishness is not a mind problem, but it is a will problem, and a heart problem. Foolishness is a lack of submission to God. It is resistant to character formation in your life. A fool desires to live an independent and autonomous life apart from God where the world centers around he or she.

Wisdom is about being the right kind of person who is following Jesus and making the right kinds of decisions.

PRIDE IS SELF-SUFFICIENCY. Self-sufficiency  is depending on our own resources and strength instead of depending on God. Self-sufficiency is you depending on your own goodness rather than depending on the goodness of Christ. It is making ourselves the center and not God and it is really self-worship. PRIDE IS SELF-PROMOTION. 

HUMILITY IS NOT THINKING LESS OF YOURSELF. IT’S THINKING OF YOURSELF LESS. (Quote by C.S.Lewis)

C.S. Lewis

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The realities of Humility are:

  1. WE HAVE TO SUBMIT TO SOMEONE. 

Ecclesiastes 8:2-5

I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.

This idea of human autonomy is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Bob Dylan wrote a song a long time ago and the lyrics said, “You got to serve somebody.” That is what Solomon is saying. We all have to answer to someone. If the police turns on their lights and you don’t pull over then you are going to jail. God has put authority in our life to humble us. Now here Solomon is talking about our need to submit to the king…The most important person we submit to is Jesus who is the eternal king and the KING OF KINGS which means there is no such thing as human autonomy. 

We will never be the ultimate authority in our lives because Jesus is. Our sin fights against Christ’s authority in every way. It makes us want to make up our own moral rules…It takes God’s grace for us to acknowledge that there is a king and we are not him. It takes grace for us to forsake the purpose of our kingdom of our kingdom so we can take up the purpose of his kingdom.

     2. WE DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING. 

Ecclesiastes 8:6-9

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

3. WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL. 

Ecclesiastes 8:10-14 

10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.

Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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 Francis Schaeffer talked about this same issue in Ecclesiastes:

Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.

Ecclesiastes 4:1  Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. 

Ecclesiastes 8:14 The Message (MSG) 14 Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.  

We could say it in 20th century language, “The books are not balanced in this life.” 

However, the books are balanced by God in the afterlife. Ecclesiastes last two verses state: The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you. 14 And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.

The answer to find meaning in life is not found in sleeping with over 1000 women but is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

PS: This is the 21st letter I have written to you and again I have responded to an aspect of your life with what the Bible has to say about it. SELF-PROMOTION is pride and living like King Solomon and sleeping with 1000 women is just being selfish and in the end it does not bring satisfaction. SATISFACTION will only come when you put your trust in Christ alone for your salvation and you repent of your sins.

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HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 7) Letter from 2-8-16

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Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences. Below Dr. Jim Eckman compares Hefner to the Solomon of Ecclesiastes.

The Legacy of Hugh Hefner

Oct 14th, 2017 | By  | Category: Culture & WordviewFeatured Issues

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Over 3,000 years ago, King Solomon wrote poignantly about his life and about the purpose and meaning of life in general “under the sun.”  His observations could be an appropriate epitaph for Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy empire:

 1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.

. . . 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. [Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 10-11 (ESV)]

Perhaps as a metaphor for his pleasure-filled life, Hefner paid $75,000 for a crypt next to Marilyn Monroe, where presumably he will be buried.

As one evaluates the legacy of Hugh Hefner, it is difficult to say anything positive about that legacy.  Columnist Tim Morris observes that “Hefner didn’t love women [which he claimed].  He lusted for them.  He loved only himself and a hedonistic life that was mostly an adolescent fantasy.”  Jill Filipovic of Time argues, “What Hefner and Playboy never did was present women as human, or consider us anything like men.  Hefner made female sex objects more relatable and accessible . . . . Brilliantly, Hefner attached himself to the sexual revolution and the feminist gains that precipitated it.  From his vantage point, publishing a magazine full of naked women was just one part of the new culture of ‘free love.’”  In short, he built an empire on male desire!

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat offers the most honest evaluation of Hugh Hefner’s legacy I have read.  Permit me extensive quotation from his essay:

  • “Hef was the grinning pimp of the sexual revolution, with Quaaludes for the ladies and Viagra for himself—a father of smut addictions and eating disorders, abortions and divorce and syphilis, a pretentious huckster who published Updike stories no one read while doing flesh procurement for celebrities, a revolutionary whose revolution chiefly benefitted men much like himself.”
  • “Hef the vanquisher of puritanism, Hef the political progressive, Hef the great businessman and all the rest . . . What a lot of garbage . . . the things that were distinctly Hefnerian, that made him influential and important, were all rotten, and to the extent they were part of stories that people tend to celebrate, they showed the rot in larger things as well.”
  • “The social liberalism he championed was the rotten and self-interested sort, a liberalism of male and upper-class privilege, in which the strong and beautiful and rich take their pleasure at the expense of the vulnerable and poor and not-yet-born.”
  • “And his appreciation of male-female difference was rotten, too—the leering predatory sort of appreciation, the Cosby-Clinton-Trump sort, the sort that nicknames Quaaludes ‘thigh openers’ and expects the girls to laugh, the sort that prefers breast implants to female intellect and rents the charms of youth to escape the realities of age.”
  • “But in every way that mattered he made those changes worse, our culture coarser and crueler and more sterile than liberalism or feminism or freedom of speech required. And in every way that mattered his life story proved that we were wrong to listen to him, because at the end of the long slide lay only a degraded, priapic senility, or the desperate gaiety of Prince Prospero’s court with the Red Death at the door.”
  • “Conservatives should ask how their crusade for faith and family and community ended up so Hefnerian itself—with a conservative news network that seems to have been run on Playboy principles and a conservative party that just elected a playboy as our president.”

As many have observed, Hugh Hefner validated the objectification of women.  But he did so by embracing and championing libertinism and materialism which hid the reality of philandering, licentiousness and exploitation–all in the name of freedom!  Hefner viewed himself as a moral revolutionary, one who “opened up the floodgates” of sexual libertinism which Playboy encouraged, commercialized and symbolized.  He thereby transformed American sexual morality by intentionally breaking down the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic that once defined American civilization.

Theologian Albert Mohler maintains that Hefner not only advocated a lifestyle of sexual libertinism but he also advocated a theology.  In an interview, Hefner declared that he was a “spiritual person, but I don’t mean that I believe in the supernatural.”  He believed in God as creator but not in “the God of the Bible.”  He championed that “I urge one and all to live life as if there is no reward in the afterlife and to do it in a moral way that makes it better for you and those around you, and that leaves this world a little better place than when you found it.”  Hefner’s moral philosophy and “theology” of libertinism and exploitation are now mainstreamed in American culture.  That is his legacy.

Hefner was not a moral revolutionary but a peddler of smut in the name of freedom.  His “freedom” produced bondage and enslavement to a sexual fantasy that has destroyed both men and women.  He died a pathetic, debauched, degraded old man who personified decadence not liberation.

King Solomon concluded his sobering evaluation of life with this observation about death:

This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.  [Ecclesiastes 9:3 (ESV)]

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.  [Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)]

Hugh Hefner has now experienced the great equalizer—death.  He also now realizes that there is a God, the God of the Bible, and he will need to give an account of the life he has lived.  What a tragedy; what a waste!

See Ross Douthat in the New York Times (1 October 2017); Jill Filipovic in www.time.com (30 September 2017); Tim Morris in www.nola.com (2 October 2017); and Albert Mohler in www.albertmohler.com (14 October 2015). PRINT PDF

Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard,Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee,  C.S. Lewis, Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson, Blaise Pascal, Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Ethan Renoe, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young ,  Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and  Richard Zowie.

 

In this letter below I quote extensively from an article by Ethan Renoe. I also use quotes from Blaise Pascal and C. S. Lewis.  I also quoted Ravi Zacharias when I wrote, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Image result for ravi zacharias ecclesiastes

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon’, oil on canvas painting by Edward Poynter, 1890

Hugh Hefner with the movie maker Woody Allen below:

 

February 8, 2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

You have made it known how much you love your movie nights and also that you are a big fan of Woody Allen movies. I have also seen you talk of your glorious past. However, did you know that you may have overlooked some of the negative things that happened in your past.  On CBS THIS MORNING 4-9-14 you said you don’t deserve the label of “womanizer” but you are just a “hopeless romantic.” Is this just spinning the past to remove all the negative so you have a golden period? This is what people sometimes call GOLDEN AGE THINKING. People try to either glorify their past in comparison to the present or they try to visualize a time in the past that was golden and they would have been happy in that period.

Marion Cotillard plays Adriana and Owen Wilson plays Gil Pender

Woody Allen’s film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is brilliant and I am sure you enjoyed it HUGH!!!!

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Later in this letter I share some words from Ethan Renoe and he talks about a summer that he had a lot of great experiences and anytime he thinks back on that  summer his memory is influenced by nostalgia and a longing to go back. He doesn’t recall the negative aspects. YOU MY FRIEND CAN NOT GO TO BED WITH 1000 WOMEN WITHOUT BEING A WOMANIZER.

In this series of letters I have written to you I have often compared you to King Solomon who was the 2nd most wise person mentioned in the Bible behind only Jesus. You should find it intriguing that I have noticed that many hundreds of preachers have mentioned you also in comparison to Solomon. In this letter I want to look both at the Woody Allen movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and the final conclusion that Solomon gives in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Gil Pender concludes there is no GOLDEN AGE, but people dream of a GOLDEN AGE because they find the PRESENT AGE unsatisfying. Actually Solomon said a long time ago,  “[God]has placed eternity on the hearts of men.” Scientist Blaise Pascal put it this way,  “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” No wonder life is unsatisfying to Gil since he is an agnostic that is not seeking a relationship with God. King Solomon wrote 3,000 years ago in the Book of Ecclesiastes that attempting to find satisfaction in life UNDER THE SUN is equal to CHASING THE WIND. Take a look at a portion of an excellent article by Ethan Renoe:

Eternity In Paris

 

midnight in paris top post-thumb-600x400-53668

I have this new theory. It’s not based in anything really, but tell me if you agree. This post is going to be rather extensive in its scope, as I attempt to critique a Woody Allen film, present a theory on memories, and include a Biblical basis for all of it.

The theory is this: Every time you think back to a memory from your own past, you are not thinking directly back to the event itself; you are thinking of the last time you thought of it. You are recalling the feelings, emotions, and colors present the last time you thought of the previous memory. For example, the summer of 2007 was the greatest time of my life. Every day was painted with scenes from the best romantic comedies, mixed with endless East coast adventures, and wrapped in the blanket of my three best friends and I doing everything together.

Now, for the sake of explanation, let’s say I have thought of this summer five times since it happened. By that, I mean I really thought about it and everything that happened over those three months. So, whenever my mind glances in the rear view mirror to that time period, I have to access it through the tunnels of the previous five times I thought of it. In other words, my mind must take a detour through all the times I have recalled it before, rather than taking a highway directly to the events themselves. When this occurs, I also see the summer of ’07 through the fog of all the emotions I had the other five times I thought of it. In this situation, the typical emotion held toward that summer is nostalgia and a longing to go back. In reality,I am sure that there were parts of the summer that were not so great, but because of the detours through my other memories, I can’t see them now. I am convinced that there were things happening in my life that were not enjoyable, or decisions that did not turn out my way, or some other longings I was entertaining at the time. In this way, the memories only get blurrier and blurrier as an icon from my life of a time when things were perfect.

Woody Allen explored this phenomena in his film Midnight in Paris, and dubbed the occurrence ‘Golden Age Thinking.’ Now some readers of my blog may see this review as an excuse to talk once more about the dazzling Marion Cotillard.  You would not be wrong. However, Allen presents a few compelling ideas in this piece. Owen Wilson plays Gil; a romantic screenwriter who daydreams about seeing Paris in the 1920’s when it is raining. Somehow, he gets his wish when on a walk one night in Paris and a cab full of old-timey people pulls up and invites him in. He enters and is taken back to the time of Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, and Cole Porter. He is in love with the time. Every night, he returns to the enchanted time of the 20’s, and every morning returns to his drag of a fiancee. Soon after the time travels begin, he meets the mysteriously beautiful Adriana (Cotillard), the supposed muse of Picasso and Hemingway, and is smitten. After a couple nights spent  wandering in and out of parties and the streets of Paris in the 1920’s, Adriana reveals that she would much rather live in the time of la Belle Epoque; about a century earlier. They travel back in time even further, this time by magical horse drawn carriage, to the 1890’s. Adriana is overjoyed and wants to stay there rather than in her own time; the 1920’s.

One of the main ideas Allen is conveying here is that everyone has a time they view as the ‘Golden Age;’ the time when nothing was wrong and everything was perfect and alive and beautiful.  Even people living in our own personal golden ages. I’m sure that the Ethan living in the summer of 2007 was longing for some time other than the one he was in then, just as the Ethan writing this now does.

Someone else took note of this empty yearning that every human has, several millennia prior to Woody. The wisest man alive, in fact. I know I have used this scripture before, but that’s because I find it so central to the human experience that to overlook it is pure foolishness. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “He has placed eternity on the hearts of men.” How many of you long for THAT? How many of you have ever said to yourself, “Boy, I wish I could just go back to forever, when everything was good and okay?” We can’t even fathom eternity, therefore, we cannot even comprehend longing for it. C.S. Lewis is famously quoted in his short piece “The Weight of Glory” for writing,  “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.” The kind of desire that each one of us has is placed in us for a reason–not to bring us to satisfaction in the promising, yet empty, objects of the world, but in Him [Jesus] alone! There’s a reason that every human being has an unquenchable thirst for another time period, place, or group of friends. We have eternity planted in our hearts. We wants things we can’t even comprehend.This is why the past looks perfect to us only from one side, hindsight, and the present is always left unsatisfied…

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER PICTURED BELOW:

Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes and he penned the words, “[God] has placed eternity on the hearts of men.” Solomon is pursuing satisfaction in life UNDER THE SUN in the Book of Ecclesiastes. FRANCIS SCHAEFFER noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” However, even though Solomon is finding all these pursuits are dead ends he also has this eternity that has been placed in his heart.

BLAISE PASCAL pictured below:

 

Image result for BLAISE PASCAL

 

Again this brings me back full circle to Pascal. BLAISE PASCAL, a famous French mathematician and philosopher, put it like this: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” That ties in nicely with with Ecclesiastes 3:11  “He has placed eternity on the hearts of men.”

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

PS: This is the 17th letter I have written to you and again I have taken an aspect of your life and responded with what the Bible has to say on that subject. HUGH you may look back on the 1000 women that you slept with and try to rationalize that you are a HOPELESS ROMANTIC but just like Solomon you must admit that your pursuits at womanizing was like an effort of  CHASING THE WIND. Don’t you see that Solomon was an old man when he wrote Ecclesiastes and just like you he had also slept with 1000 women but he had not found satisfaction UNDER THE SUN. In fact he exclaimed, GOD HAS PLACED ETERNITY ON THE HEARTS OF MEN!!!! Don’t you think it is time that you take Solomon’s advice in the last chapter?  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

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From 2005 article Charles Colson says of Antony Flew: “When he reads the first chapter of Genesis, Flew says he’s impressed that a book written thousands of years ago harmonizes with twenty-first-century science!” (Plus Ricky Gervais on Losing Religion)

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Ricky Gervais – Losing Religion and Becoming An Atheist

Uploaded on Jul 2, 2009

Ricky Gervais – Losing Religion and Becoming An Atheist

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Chuck Colson wrote back in 2005 concerning Antony Flew:

 When he reads the first chapter of Genesis, Flew says he’s impressed that a book written thousands of years ago harmonizes with twenty-first-century science. “That this biblical account might be scientifically accurate,” says Flew, “raises the possibility that it is revelation.”

Antony Flew, the 81-year-old British philosophy professor who taught at Oxford and other leading universities, became an atheist at age 15. Throughout his long career he argued—including in debates with an atheist-turned-Christian named C. S. Lewis—that there was a “presumption of atheism,” that is, the existence of a creator could not be proved.But he’s now been forced to face the evidence. It comes from the Intelligent Design movement, led by Dr. Phillip Johnson and particularly the work of Michael Behe, the Lehigh biochemist who has proven the “irreducible complexity” of the human cell structure.
Though eighty-one years old, Flew has not let his thinking fossilize, but has faithfully followed his own dictum to “go where the evidence leads.”Christian philosophy professor Gary Habermas of Liberty University conducted an interview with Flew that will be published in the winter issue of Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and Biola University. Flew told Habermas that a pivotal point in his thinking was when he realized two major flaws in the various theories of how nature might have created itself. First, he recognized that evolutionary theory has no reasonable explanation for “the first emergence of living from non-living matter”—that is, the origin of life. Second, even if a living cell or primitive animal had somehow assembled itself from non-living chemicals, he reasoned it would have no ability to reproduce.Flew told Habermas, “This is the creature, the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”Flew has, thus, become a Deist—that is, he acknowledges God as creator but not as a personal deity. In his opinion, “There is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or any transactions between that God and individual human beings.” In fact, he told a group last May that he considers both the Christian God and the Islamic God to be “omnipotent Oriental despots—cosmic Saddam Husseins.”But a crack is beginning to develop in his opinion that God hasn’t spoken through Scripture. When he reads the first chapter of Genesis, Flew says he’s impressed that a book written thousands of years ago harmonizes with twenty-first-century science. “That this biblical account might be scientifically accurate,” says Flew, “raises the possibility that it is revelation.” A book containing factual statements that no human knew about at the time of writing seems to argue that the authors must have had coaching from the Creator.The evidence is there for all who will look, as his one-time adversary C. S. Lewis discovered, and as more and more thinking intellectuals are discovering today. So it is that Antony Flew, perhaps the most famous philosopher of atheism, is just a step or two away from the kingdom.

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Antony Flew on God and Atheism

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News on Antony Flew’s conversion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1e4FU…

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Then, in a 2004 Summit at New York University, Professor Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have led him to the conclusion that the universe is indeed the creation of infinite Intelligence.

For More Info Visit:
http://ScienceFindsGod.com

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Discussion (2 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

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Links:

http://reasonablefaith.org
http://drcraigvideos.blogspot.com

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One of my favorite songs  is called “Before the Morning” and it is by  the Christian singer Josh Wilson. The lyrics start out: “Why do you have to feel the things that hurt you? If there’s a God who loves you where is He now?” Over the years I have corresponded with several atheists and many times they confront me on this  very issue such as this letter did from Dr. Brian Charlesworth, Dept of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago in letter dated May 10, 1994:

Thank you for your various communications. I am afraid that I formed the view many years ago that there is no foundation for any belief in a benevolent creator of the world. For me, there is too much suffering in the world to be compatible with the existence of such a being. 

Let me make three points concerning the problem of evil and suffering. First, the problem of evil and suffering hit this world in a big way because of Adam and what happened in Genesis Chapter 3. Second, if there is no God then there is no way to distinguish good from evil and there will be no ultimate punishment for Hitler and Josef Mengele. Third. Christ came and suffered and will destroy all evil from this world eventually forever.

Recently I went to see the movie GOD’S NOT DEAD in a local theater and that prompted me to read the book of the same name by Rice Broocks. In the movie the problem of evil and suffering is discussed just like it is in the book  and would love to interact further with anyone who would like to see the film is a big hit in theaters this year. On page 5 on the book you will find these words:
Atheists claim that the universe isn’t what you would expect
if a supernatural God existed. All this death and suffering, they say,
are plain evidence that a loving, intelligent God could not be behind
it all. The truth is that God has created a world where free moral
agents are able to have real choices to do good or evil. If God had
created a world without that fundamental choice and option to do
evil, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. God made a world
where choices are real and humanity is affected by the choices of
other humans. Drunk drivers kill innocent people. Some murder
and steal from their fellow men. Though God gave clear com-
mandments to humanity, we have for the most part ignored these
directives. The mess that results is not God’s fault. It’s ours.
We are called to follow God and love Him with all our hearts
and minds. This means we have to think and investigate. Truth
is another word for reality. When something is true it’s true
everywhere. The multiplication tables are just as true in China
as they are in America. Gravity works in Africa the way it does
in Asia. The fact that there are moral truths that are true every-
where points to a transcendent morality that we did not invent
and from which we cannot escape (C.S.Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY,[1952:
New York: Harper Collins, 2001], p. 35).
As Creator, God has placed not only natural laws in the earth
but also spiritual laws. For instance, lying is wrong everywhere.
So is stealing. Cruelty to children is wrong regardless of what
culture you’re in or country you’re from. When these laws are
broken, people are broken. Not only does violating these spiritual
laws separate us from God, but it causes pain in our lives and
in the lives of those around us. The big question becomes, what
can be done about our condition? When we break these spiritual
laws, whom can we call for help? How can we be reconciled to
God as well as break free from this cycle of pain and dysfunction?

Francis Schaeffer in his fine book about modern man ESCAPE FROM REASON  states,

“the True Christian position is that, in space and time and history, there was an unprogrammed man who made a choice, and actually rebelled against God…without Christianity’s answer that God made a significant man in a significant history with evil being the result of Satan’s and then man’s historic space-time revolt, there is no answer but to accept Baudelaire’s answer [‘If there is a God, He is the devil’] with tears. Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good.”(pg. 81)

Someone I knew in 1985 grew up in Germany and was part of the Hitler Youth Program, Was he wrong in his beliefs? 

On what basis does the atheist have to say “Hitler was wrong!!!”

Early in his career Hitler was popular and many of the German people bought into his anti-semetic views. Does the atheist have an intellectual basis to condemn Hitler’s actions?

____________________________________

My friend who grew up in Germany  believed until his dying day that Hitler was right. I had a basis for knowing that Hitler was wrong and here it is below.
It is my view that according the Bible all men are created by God and are valuable.  However, the atheist has no basis for coming to this same conclusion. Francis Schaeffer put it this way:
We cannot deal with people like human beings, we cannot deal with them on the high level of true humanity, unless we really know their origin—who they are. God tells man who he is. God tells us that He created man in His image. So man is some- thing wonderful.
In 1972 Schaeffer wrote the book “He is There and He is Not Silent.” Here is the statement that sums up that book:

One of philosophy’s biggest problems is that anything exists at all and has the form that it does. Another is that man exists as a personal being and makes true choices and has moral responsibility. The Bible gives sufficient answers to these problems. In fact, the only sufficient answer is that the infinite-personal triune God is there and He is not silent. He has spoken to man in the Bible.

In the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS the basic question Woody Allen is presenting to his own agnostic humanistic worldview is: If you really believe there is no God there to punish you in an afterlife, then why not murder if you can get away with it?   The secular humanist worldview that modern man has adopted does not work in the real world that God has created. God “has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This is a direct result of our God-given conscience. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 1:19, “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God  has shown it to them” (Amplified Version).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” The Humanist, May/June 1997, pp.38-39). Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism.

Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (The Humanist, September/October 1997, p. 2.). Humanists don’t really have an intellectual basis for saying that Hitler was wrong, but their God-given conscience tells them that they are wrong on this issue.

Here is fine film by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop that makes the case for human dignity.

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Also here is the link for  another fine article on this same issue by Chuck Colson.

Crimes? What Crimes?

The Grand ‘Sez Who’

Let us take a close look at how you are going to come up with morality as an atheist. When you think about it there is no way around the final conclusion that it is just your opinion against mine concerning morality. There is no final answers. However, if God does exist and he has imparted final answers to us then everything changes.

Take a look at a portion of this paper by Greg Koukl. In this article he points out that atheists don’t even have a basis for saying that Hitler was wrong:

What doesn’t make sense is to look at the existence of evil and question the existence of God. The reason is that atheism turns out being a self-defeating philosophic solution to this problem of evil. Think of what evil is for a minute when we make this kind of objection. Evil is a value judgment that must be measured against a morally perfect standard in order to be meaningful. In other words, something is evil in that it departs from a perfect standard of good. C.S. Lewis made the point, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”] He also goes on to point out that a portrait is a good or a bad likeness depending on how it compares with the “perfect” original. So to talk about evil, which is a departure from good, actually presumes something that exists that is absolutely good. If there is no God there’s no perfect standard, no absolute right or wrong, and therefore no departure from that standard. So if there is no God, there can’t be any evil, only personal likes and dislikes–what I prefer morally and what I don’t prefer morally.

This is the big problem with moral relativism as a moral point of view when talking about the problem of evil. If morality is ultimately a matter of personal taste–that’s what most people hold nowadays–then it’s just your opinion what’s good or bad, but it might not be my opinion. Everybody has their own view of morality and if it’s just a matter of personal taste–like preferring steak over broccoli or Brussels sprouts–the objection against the existence of God based on evil actually vanishes because the objection depends on the fact that some things are intrinsically evil–that evil isn’t just a matter of my personal taste, my personal definition. But that evil has absolute existence and the problem for most people today is that there is no thing that is absolutely wrong. Premarital sex? If it’s right for you. Abortion? It’s an individual choice. Killing? It depends on the circumstances. Stealing? Not if it’s from a corporation.

The fact is that most people are drowning in a sea of moral relativism. If everything is allowed then nothing is disallowed. Then nothing is wrong. Then nothing is ultimately evil. What I’m saying is that if moral relativism is true, which it seems like most people seem to believe–even those that object against evil in the world, then the talk of objective evil as a philosophical problem is nonsense. To put it another way, if there is no God, then morals are all relative. And if moral relativism is true, then something like true moral evil can’t exist because evil becomes a relative thing.

An excellent illustration of this point comes from the movie The Quarrel . In this movie, a rabbi and a Jewish secularist meet again after the Second World War after they had been separated. They had gotten into a quarrel as young men, separated on bad terms, and then had their village and their family and everything destroyed through the Second World War, both thinking the other was dead. They meet serendipitously in Toronto, Canada in a park and renew their friendship and renew their old quarrel.divider

Rabbi Hersch says to the secularist Jew Chiam, “If a person does not have the Almighty to turn to, if there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better? Do you begin to see the horror of this? If there is no Master of the universe then who’s to say that Hitler did anything wrong? If there is no God then the people that murdered your wife and kids did nothing wrong.”

That is a very, very compelling point coming from the rabbi. In other words, to argue against the existence of God based on the existence of evil forces us into saying something like this: Evil exists, therefore there is no God. If there is no God then good and evil are relative and not absolute, so true evil doesn’t exist, contradicting the first point. Simply put, there cannot be a world in which it makes any sense to say that evil is real and at the same time say that God doesn’t exist. If there is no God then nothing is ultimately bad, deplorable, tragic or worthy of blame. The converse, by the way, is also true. This is the other hard part about this, it cuts both ways. Nothing is ultimately good, honorable, noble or worthy of praise. Everything is ultimately lost in a twilight zone of moral nothingness. To paraphrase the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the person who argues against the existence of God based on the existence of evil in the world has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.

_____________

Ricky Gervais in a You Tube clip from the show Piers Morgan Tonight on  1-20-2011 said that he embraced the golden rule because it made sense to him to be good to others so they would be good to you. However, how would that work if there is no ultimate lawmaker that also is our final judge? Rabbi Hersch’s argument to the secularist Jew Chiam seems to point out that without God in the picture it really does come to : “If a person does not have the Almighty to turn to, if there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better?”

Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer pictured above.

_______

Many crime victims feel forsaken by God. So do many divorced people, war prisoners, and starving refugees. But this young man’s cry of desperation carried added significance because of its historical allusion.
The words had appeared about a thousand years earlier in a song written by a king. The details of the song are remarkably similar to the suffering the young man endured. It said, “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads …. They have pierced my hands and my feet…. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”{2}
Historians record precisely this behavior during the young man’s execution.{3} It was as if a divine drama were unfolding as the man slipped into death.
Researchers have uncovered more than 300 predictions or prophesies literally fulfilled in the life and death of this unique individual. Many of these statements written hundreds of years before his birth-were beyond his human control. One correctly foretold the place of his birth. {4} Another said he would be born of a virgin. {5} He would be preceded by a messenger who would prepare the way for his work, {6} He would enter the capital city as a king but riding on a donkeys back {7} He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of Silver, {8} pierced, {9} executed among thieves, {10} and yet, though wounded, {11} he would suffer no broken bones.{12}
Peter Stoner, a California mathematics professor, calculated the chance probability of just eight of these 300 prophecies coming true in one person. Using conservative estimates, Stoner concluded that the probability is 1 in 10 to the 17th power that those eight could be fulfilled by a fluke.
He says 1017silver dollars would cover the state of Texas two feet deep. Mark one coin with red fingernail polish. Stir the whole batch thoroughly. What chance would a blindfolded person have of picking the marked coin on the first try? One in 1017, the same chance that just eight of the 300 prophecies “just happened” to come true in this man, Jesus. {13}
In his dying cry from the cross Jesus reminded His hearers that His life and death precisely fulfilled God’s previously stated plan. According to the biblical perspective, at the moment of death Jesus experienced the equivalent of eternal separation from God in our place so that we might be forgiven and find new life.
He took the penalty due for all the crime, injustice, evil, sin, and shortcomings of the world-including yours and mine.
Though sinless Himself, He likely felt guilty and abandoned. Then-again in fulfillment of prophecy{14} and contrary to natural law-He came back to life. As somewhat of a skeptic I investigated the evidence for Christ’s resurrection and found it to be one of the best-attested facts in history. {15} To the seeker Jesus Christ offers true inner peace, forgiveness, purpose, and strength for contented living.

SO WHAT?

“OK, great,” you might say, “but what hope does this give the crime or divorce victim, the hungry and bleeding refugee, the citizen paralyzed by a world gone bad?” Will Jesus prevent every crime, reconcile every troubled marriage, restore every refugee, stop every war? No. God has given us free will. Suffering–even unjust suffering–is a necessary consequence of sin.
Sometimes God does intervene to change circumstances. (I’m glad my assailant became nervous and left.) Other times God gives those who believe in Him strength to endure and confidence that He will see them through. In the process, believers mature.
Most significantly we can hope in what He has told us about the future. Seeing how God has fulfilled prophecies in the past gives us confidence to believe those not yet fulfilled. Jesus promises eternal life to all who trust Him for it: “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”{16}
He promised He would return to rescue people from this dying planet.{17}
He will judge all evil.{18}
Finally justice will prevail. Those who have chosen to place their faith in Him will know true joy: “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.”{19}
Does God intend that we ignore temporal evil and mentally float off into unrealistic ethereal bliss? Nor at all. God is in the business of working through people to turn hearts to Him, resolve conflicts, make peace. After my assailant went to prison, I felt motivated to tell him that I forgave him because of Christ. He apologized, saying he, too, has now come to believe in Jesus.
But through every trial, every injustice you suffer, you can know that God is your friend and that one day He will set things right. You can know that He is still on the throne of the universe and that He cares for you. You can know this because His Son was born (Christmas is, of course, a celebration of His birth), lived, died, and came back to life in fulfillment of prophecy. Because of Jesus, if you personally receive His free gift of forgiveness, you can have hope!
Will you trust Him?
Notes
1. Matthew 27:46.
2. Psalm 22.
3. Matthew 27:35-44; John 20:25.
4. Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1.
5. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 24-25; Luke 1:26-35.
6. Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1-2.
7. Zechariah 9:9; John 12:15; Matthew 21: 1-9.
8. Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15.
9. Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34, 37.
10. Isaiah 53:12.
11. Matthew 27:38; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 13:6; Matthew 27:26.
12. Psalm 34:20; John 19:33, 36.
13. Peter Stoner, Science Speaks, pp. 99-112.
14. Psalm 6:10; Acts 2:31-32.
15. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, pp. 185-273.
16. John 5:24.
17. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
18. Revelation 20:10-15.
19. Revelation 21:4 NAS.
©1994 Rusty Wright. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission from Pursuit magazine (© 1994, Vol. III, No. 3)

About the Author
Rusty Wright, former associate speaker and writer with Probe Ministries, is an international lecturer, award-winning author, and journalist who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. http://www.rustywright.com/

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5)

The Bible and Archaeology (2/5)

God Is A Luxury I Can’t Afford – From Crimes And Misdemeanors

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The finest article on Antony Flew’s long path from Atheism to Theism!!


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 This is the finest article yet I have read that traces Antony Flew’s long path from atheism to theism.

Among the world’s atheists there was hardly any with the intellectual stature of Anthony Flew.  He was a contemporary with C.S. Lewis and has been a thorn in the side of theists for more than fifty years.  Quite frankly Anthony Flew’s intellectual stature far transcends the squawking and loud atheists of today like Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert, Victor Stenger or Sam Harris.  These men couldn’t stand in the same room with Flew in true rigorous discussion.  I will have more on these loud mouths later, but I want to explore the recent book by Anthony Flew entitled There is A God (the A written over a scratched over NO).

First I wish to celebrate the intellect of Anthony Flew because it is to be admired for what path He put himself on that lead to God.   In his youth he adhered to the Socratic philosophy of “following the evidence wherever it leads.”  This is a powerful idea that most atheists would say that they adhere to, but actually fall far short on.  Many just follow the evidence to a pre-decided point and no further.

Anthony Flew was probably one of the most original thinkers in modern times in theological thinking or perhaps a-theological thinking.  In “Theology and Falsification”, God and Philosophy and The Presumption of Atheism he raised the question of how religious statements can make meaningful claims.  He claimed that no discussion of the concept of God can begin until the coherence of the concept of an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent spirit had been established.  In The Presumption of Atheism he argued that the burden of proof rests with theism and the atheism is the default position.  It was this reorientation of the frames of reference that eventually changed the whole nature of discussion.  This changed discussion eventually also lead to a revitalized theism as well.

His Youth

Son of a Methodist minister he traveled to Germany, as a child, prior to WWII.  He remembers the banners and signs outside villages proclaiming “Jews not wanted here”.  He saw the march of thousands of brown shirts in Bavaria and saw squads of Waffen-SS in the black uniforms with the skull and crossbones.  This was the face of evil and powerfully spoke to him that such evil seemed to preclude an all loving and all powerful God.

Always an avid reader and with no predilection to anything religious the young Flew read science and philosophy and gradually drew away from his religious upbringing.  He tried to hide it from His parents, but after service in the War in 1946 the word got out to his parents that he had become an atheist.   A brilliant young man, Flew, attended Oxford University in 1942 and graduated with his undergraduate degree in the summer of 1947.  He passed with top honors and arranged to pursue post graduate work in philosophy and metaphysical philosophy.  During his time at Oxford Flew joined the Socratic Club at Oxford which was headed by C.S. Lewis.  He and Lewis locked horns more than once in this club and the Socratic principle of going where the evidence leads became even more important and had a surprising impact in Flew’s a theological thought that even set the stage for his future theism.

What Makes an Atheist?

I wish to inject a truth here about the cause of atheism in our culture and especially in our church culture.  Flew is a bit unusual in his atheism direction, but we can see how the church still failed him in this though he never points out that truth.  He steps all around that truth saying that the church and religion held no interest for him and that very statement holds a profound truth.  In the preface of the book is a statement from Katharine Tait, Bertrand Russell’s daughter, from her book My Father, Bertrand Russell.  She indicated that her father would not even talk to her about religion or Christianity, which Katharine had accepted.  She said: “I could not even talk to him about religion.” Page XX.  She states later: “I would have liked to convince my father that I had found what he had been looking for, the ineffable something he had longed for all his life.  I would have liked to persuade him that the search for God does not have to be in vain.  But it was hopeless.  He had known too many blind Christians, bleak moralists who sucked the joy from life and persecuted their opponents; he would never have been able to see the truth they were hiding.” Page XXI

This is a stunning truth that I have seen in my personal debates with atheists and that I have seen in writings of some atheists.  It is that Christians in a mistaken legalistic, judgmental attitude have more to do with engendering and creating atheism than perhaps the secular humanism and the other faith killing philosophies.  Many atheists are atheists because of some encounter with a Christian somewhere that hammered the life out of them and hid the glory of a Lord who loved them.  We need to look at ourselves and become the person Jesus wants the world to really see.

Anthony Flew’s Early Impact

Flew’s first target in his incisive logic was not theology, but rather an atheistic philosophy called logical positivism.  Logical positivism was introduced by a European group called the Vienna Circle and was popularized by A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic.  Logical Positivists believed any statement that was truly meaningful were statements that could be only verified through the sense experience or were true simply by their form and the meaning of the words used.  This meant that a statement was only meaningful if it could be verified as true or false by empirical observations or science.   This resulted in only statements that were true or verified were statements used in science, logic or mathematics.

Anthony Flow considered his paper Theology and Falsification to be the final argument that sealed the fate of logical positivism.   In 1990 Flew stated:

“As an undergraduate I had become increasingly frustrated and exasperated by philosophical debates which always seemed to revert to, and never to move forward from, the logical positivism most brilliantly expounded in . . . Language, Truth and Logic. . . The intentions in both these papers (the versions of “Theology and Falsification” first presented in the Socratic Club and then published in University) was the same.  Instead of an arrogant announcement that everything which any believer might choose to say it to be ruled out of consideration a priori as allegedly constituting a violation of the supposedly sacrosanct verification principle – here curiously maintained as a secular revelation – I preferred to offer a more restrained challenge.  Let the believers speak for themselves, individually and severally.”  Page XIV

I will have to say that Flew’s thinking that logical positivism was utterly defeated is a little premature as the “New Atheism” has brought forth the logical positivism redux in all its illogical and arrogant glory.  Even A. J. Ayers has long abandoned logical positivism as anything worth a philosophical breath.  But is appears the new atheists have revived this errant philosophy to use in their tomes of unreason and illogic.

50 Years an Atheist

I would have to say that Anthony Flew, while a thorn in the side of Theology, with his impeccable and incisive logic and honorable ways was actually a worthy opponent as well.  His life was spent in many and varied places and his academic career spanned the continents.  The list of academic organizations at which Flew was a professor is simply astounding.  First was the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, he then became professor of philosophy at the University College of North Staffordshire.  Later he joined the philosophy department of the University of Keele and then moved to the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada.  He joined the University of Reading until the end of 1982, took an early retirement and taught at York University of Toronto.  Half way through that assignment he resigned and joined Bowling Green State University to be a part of the Social Philosophy and Policy Center for the next three years.  Three years later he retired and lives today in Reading.  It was a very long and distinguished career.

Following the Evidence

As I mentioned before the Socratic principle of following the evidence where it leads was a guiding principle of Anthony Flew and to his credit this principle lead him into many changes.  In 1966 Flew published God and Philosophy where he attempted to present a case for Christian theism where he challenged the theists to come up with a better idea.  Since that time many theists have done just that and in “following the evidence” Flew also changed his views.  He later stated: “What do I think about today about the arguments laid out in God and Philosophy?  In a 2004 letter toPhilosophy Now, I observed that I now consider God and Philosophy to be a historic relic (but of course, one cannot follow the evidence where it leads without giving others the chance to show you new perspectives you had not fully considered).” Page 52

Flew first looked at the concept of free will and determinism as propounded by Hume as the free will defense had often been put forth with the atheist “problem of evil” argument.  He tried to maintain a position that even though man could have a will that appeared free, he believed that the free choices were physically caused.  He called this system a compatibilism and later rejected this view by examining the idea of Hume’s causes.  Hume failed to properly understand the freedom of an independent person to make a choice that was not physically dependent on anything else.  Flew defined three notions of identity, one is being an agent, two is having a choice and three is being able to do something other than what we actually do.  This necessitated a distinction between the ideas of movings and motions that can explain the equally fundamental concept of action.  He states: “The nerve of the distinction between the movings involved in an action and the motions that constitute necessitated behavior is that the latter behavior is physically necessitated, whereas the sense, the direction, and the character of actions as such are that, as a matter of logic, they necessarily cannot be physically necessitated (and as a matter of brute face, they are not).  It therefore becomes impossible to maintain the doctrine of universal physically necessitating determinism, the doctrine that says all movement in the universe – including every human bodily movement, the movings as well as motions – area determined by physically necessitating physical causes.” Page 64 – 65   Flew viewed this philosophical change as just as radical as any change he made on the question of God.

Flew was one of the heavy hitters in the atheist world and in 2004 he made the change from atheism to theism, that rocked that world profoundly.  It was not a sudden change, but as presented above, a piece by piece revamping of Flew’s philosophy as he followed the evidence.

Flew had been in many debates with theists over the years and some proved to be profound in his later change.  Terry Miethe of the Oxford presented a “formidable version of the cosmological argument” in a debate with Flew.

Some limited, changing being(s) exist

The present existence of every limited, changing being is caused by another.

There cannot be an infinite regress of caused of being,

Because an infinite regress of finite beings would

Not cause the existence of anything.

Therefore, there is a first Cause of the present existence of these beings.

The first cause must be infinite, necessary eternal and one

The first uncaused Cause is identical with the God of the Judeo – Christian tradition.  Page 70 – 71

This argument by Miethe was based not on the principle of sufficient reason as most cosmological arguments of this type were, but upon the principle of existential causality.  Flew rejected this argument but it later came to him again in the idea of design in the universe and nature.

In 2004 Flew came to the last of his long line of public debates in a symposium at New York University.  In this debate about science and theology Flew, to the surprise of all announced that he had now accepted the existence of God.  This announcement has caused no small stir among those in the atheist world and those in the theist camp as well.  Many, harsh and strong statements have risen especially from those aforementioned loud mouthed, new atheists.  I will not go into these comments now, but suffice it to say they show no tolerance they so famously shout for their own ideas.

Finding the Divine

Anthony Flew in the above debate made the following statement when asked if the “recent work on the origin of life pointed to the activity of a creative Intelligence . . .

“Yes, I now think it does . . . almost entirely because of DNA investigations.  What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.  It’s the enormous complexity of the number of elements and the enormous subtlety of the ways they work together.  The meeting of these two parts at the right time by chance is simply minute.  It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence.”  Page 74 – 75

Flew has seen the very same things I and many others have observed to convince him of the divine in all creation and life.  Flew has had many writing debates with Richard Dawkins whom he has had some admiration in his earlier days, but drew, and continues to draw distinctions in Dawkin’s selfish-gene school of thought.  He says:

“In my book Darwinian Evolution, I pointed out that natural selection dies not positively produce anything.  It only eliminates, or tends to eliminate, whatever is not competitive.  A variation does not need to bestow any actual competitive advantage in order to avoid elimination; it is sufficient that is does not burden its owner with any competitive disadvantage.  To choose a rather silly illustration, suppose I have useless wings tucked away under my suit coat, wings that are too weak to lift my frame off the ground.  Useless as they are, these wings to not enable me to escape predators or gather food.  But as long as they don’t make me more vulnerable to predators, I will probably survive to reproduce and pass on my wings to my descendants. Darwin’s mistake in drawing too positive an inference with his suggestion that natural selection produces something was perhaps due to his employment of the expressions ‘natural selection’ or ‘survival of the fittest’ rather than his own ultimately preferred alternative, ‘natural preservation.’” Page 78 – 79

He goes on and continues to skewer Dawkins by saying: “Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene was a major exercise in popular mystification.” Page 79   He also states that: “Dawkins on the other hand, labored to discount or depreciate the upshot of fifty or more years’ work in genetics – the discovery that the observable traits of organisms are for the most part conditioned by the interactions of many genes, while most genes have manifold effects on many such traits.  For Dawkins, the main means for producing human behavior is to attribute to genes characteristics that can significantly be attributed only to persons. Then after insisting that we are all the choiceless creatures of our genes, he infers that we cannot help but share the unlovely personal characteristics of those all-controlling monads.”  Page 79 – 80

Dawkin’s premise is that we are merely robots created by our genes to house them and spread them and we are totally subject to the physical laws of genetics.  Flew makes a final deadly thrust at Dawkins when he says: “If any of this were true, it would be no use to go on, as Dawkins does, to preach: ‘Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.’ No eloquence can move programmed robots.  But in fact none if it is true – or even faintly sensible.  Genes, as we have seen, do not and cannot necessitate our conduct. Nor are they capable of the calculation and understanding required to plot a course of either ruthless selfishness or sacrificial compassion.”  Page 80

Anthony Flew also takes aim at dogmatic atheism and it’s misapplication of science when the atheists let preconceived theories shape the way they see the evidence rather than letting the evidence shape their theories. About this he says: “And in this, it seems to me, lies the peculiar danger, the endemic evil, of dogmatic atheism.  Take such utterances as ‘We should not ask for an explanation of how it is that the world exists; it is here and that is all’ or ‘Since we cannot accept a transcendent source of life, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance from matter’, or ‘The laws of physics are ‘lawless laws’ that arise from the void – end of discussion.’  They look at first sight like rational arguments that have special authority because they have a no-nonsense air about them.  Of course, this is no more sign that they are either rational or arguments.” Page 86 – 87

He also takes umbrage at the continuing effort of dogmatic atheism and militant evolutionists as couching every argument as their “science” confronting our “philosophy, religion and non-science.      He states: “You might ask how I, a philosopher, could speak to issues treated by scientists. The best way to answer this is with another question.  Are we engaging in science or philosophy here?  When you study the interaction of two physical bodies, for instance, two subatomic particles, you are engaged in science.  When you ask how it is that those subatomic particles – oranything physical – could exist and why, you are engaged in philosophy.  When you draw philosophical conclusions from scientific data, then you are thinking as a philosopher.” Page 89

Flew says that the three domains of scientific inquiry that he as a philosopher feels are especially important are; how did the laws of nature come to be, how did life originate from non-life, and how did the universe (all that is physical) come into being and why.  It is in this domain that Flew is so devastating to the pretend philosophers of evolution and atheism.

He goes on to point out that the God Aristotle believe in as presented in David Conway’s book The Recovery of Wisdom: From Here to Antiquity in Quest of Sophia.  Conway says and Flew agrees: “In sum, to the Being whom he considered to be the explanation of the world and its broad form, Aristotle ascribed the following attributes: immutability, immateriality,   omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence.  There is an impressive correspondence between this set of attributes and those traditionally ascribed to God within the Judaeo-Christian tradition.  It is one that fully justifies us in viewing Aristotle as having had the same Divine Being in mind as the cause of the world that is the object of worship of these two religions.”

Anthony Flew had correctly perceived that the universe and life itself had to have a vast intelligent designer behind it as it was impossible to have been self caused or uncaused.  He looks further into the laws of the universe and the concept of the first cause of all we see.  He quotes the physicist Paul Davies: “in his Templeton address, Paul Davies makes the point that ‘science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.’  Nobody asks where the laws of physics come from, but ‘even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith the existence of a lawlike order in nature that is at least in part incomprehensible to us.” Page 107

Davies in again quoted: “Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels.’ Writes Paul Davies, arguably the most influential contemporary expositor of modern science. ‘Atheists claim that the laws (of nature) exist reasonlessly and that the universe is absurd.  As a scientist, I find this hard to accept.  There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly nature of the universe is rooted.” Page 111

Flew examines the finely tuned universe or the idea of a man centered universe called the anthropic universe.  It appears that the constants in the universe from the cosmic to the quantum are all finely tuned to cause life to occur.  It appears that the universe was waiting for us.  Flew says: “In his book Infinite Minds, John Leslie, a leading anthropic theorist, argues that the fine tuning is best explained by divine design.  He says that he is impressed not by particular arguments for instances of fine tuning, but by the fact that these arguments exist in such profusion. ‘If, then, there were aspects of nature’s workings that appeared every fortunate and also entirely fundamental,’ he writes, ‘then there might well be seen as evidence specially favoring belief in God.” Page 115

Many physicists have explored the idea of ultra high density physics of multi-verses in hyper dimensions that are truly speculative and very hard to prove. In fact another universe outside of our universe would by our technology and any technology we can envision impossible to examine  Very few physicists actually hold to this multi-verse idea with the exception of those who do not want to believe in a intelligent creator.  Physicist Davies weighs in again: “It is trivially true that, in an infinite universe, anything that can happen will happen.’ But this is not an explanation at all.  If we are trying to understand why the universe if bio-friendly, we are not helped by being told that all possible universes exist. ‘Like a blunderbuss, it explains everything and nothing.”  Page 118   Physicist Richard Swineburne rejects the multi-verse and says: “It is crazy to postulate a trillion (causally unconnected) universes to explain the features of one universe, when postulating one entity (God) will do the job.”  Page 119   Flew likens the argument to a child coming to his teacher and saying “The dog ate my homework.”  When the teacher indicates unbelief the child changes his story to” “A whole pack of dogs ate my homework.”  It is an answer waiting for a question as it will not answer any current questions.

Anthony Flew, as mentioned before also saw the idea of biological life and the complex coding necessary for that life to be an insurmountable problem with atheism and evolution.  He perceived through is incisive logic that the age of the universe and the current theories of abiogenesis left too little time for life to happen in the random way that it had to occur.  He states: “A far more important consideration is the philosophical challenge facing origin-of-life studies.  Most studies on the origin of life are carried out by scientists who rarely attend to the philosophical dimension of their findings.  Philosophers, on the other hand, have said little on the nature and origin of life.  The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of- life studies is this: How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and ‘coded chemistry’?  Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely different category of problem.”  Page 124   Flew understood the deep issues.  It is not what the current abiogenesis study is and how maybe a few amino acids can be formed in a test tube, but why does life depend on the hyper complex code even at all and what does it point out in the big picture of causality. Most evolutionists are utterly lost in the details of this missing link or that whale vestigial foot or whatever they can club the creationist over the head with.  They never raise their head like Flew did, and look at the big picture this code points too. One of the issues Flew raises is that life is teleological in nature, it posses intrinsic ends, goals and purposes.  We are self aware, we think, we plan, we love, we are alive in a profound teleological way.  The very origin of this life presents profound problems for the scientist who doesn’t understand the philosophy inherent in his work.  Flew says: “The origin of self-reproduction is a second key problem.  Distinguished philosopher John Haldane notes that origin-of-life theories ‘do not provide sufficient explanation, since they presuppose the existence at an early stage of self-reproduction, and it has not been shown that this can arise by natural means from a material base.”  Page 125   It is the profound problem of the biological scientist who wants to adhere to the evolutionist philosophy.  If you cannot start out life by abiogenesis then the rest tends to fall down and become irrelevant.  George Wald a Nobel Prize winning physiologist once said: “we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”  But years later he changed his belief to a preexisting mind.  He said: “How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds life?  It has occurred to me lately – I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities – that both questions might be brought into some degree of congruence.  This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality – that the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff.  It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creature that know and create: science, art and technology making creatures.”  Page 131 – 132.

Flew in his paper The Presumption of Atheism argued that we had to take the universe and its most fundamental laws as ultimate.  But you see this is the materialist trap, if all is material and there can be nothing that is not material then God a priori doesn’t exist.  It blocks out the possibility of something that can transcend that universe.  The idea of the infinite and unending universe was the cosmology of Flew’s early years and that view allowed plenty of time and energy for the atheistic views.  But is has been fairly well documented that the universe had a beginning and this had a profound impact on Antony Flew.  It reminded him of the first sentence in the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  He stated that while the universe was assumed to be eternal and unending then it was the ultimate by brute fact.  But a beginning postulated another something the caused the beginning.  This presented a problem.  Cosmologist were also disturbed by this problem and presented many ideas that would allow them to retain their nontheist status quo.  We have previously looked at those attempts.  But suffice it to know that if one universe requires an explanation for a beginning then multiverses will also require multiple explanations as well.  One of the troubles is that science has a severe problem with the cause of the universe.  Swineburne arguing about the Humean idea of a beginningless series of nonnecessary existent beings, being the sufficient cause for the universe as a whole said: “The whole infinite series will have no explanation at all, for there will be no causes of members of the series lying outside the series.  In that case, the existence of the universe over infinite time will be an inexplicable brute fact. There will be an explanation (in terms of laws) of why, once existent, it continues to exist.  But what will be inexplicable is it existence at all throughout infinite time.  The existence of a complex physical universe over finite or infinite time is something ‘too big’ for science to explain.”  Page 141  So we see that the, now known, finite universe is not the brute fact and ultimate thing and it is also too big for science to explain and certainly they cannot explain away that nothing never creates something.

Anthony Flew in his publications argued that the concept of God was not coherent because it presupposed the idea of an incorporeal omnipresent being.  Again this is the materialist trap and Flew finally found his way out.  Theologians were busy with their answers.  They stated that a body is necessary for being to exist; the condition for a being to be an agent is to be simply capable of intentional action.  God is spoken as being a personal being; this is to talk of Him as an agent to intentional action.

God also dwelling outside of space and time was entirely consistent with the theory of special relativity.  Brian Leftow in his book Time and Eternity showed that God could be transcendent of the universe and went on to explore what He would be like.  It is these studies that showed Flew that an incorporeal spirit could exist and have an impact in our world.  He says: “At the very least, the studies and Tracy and Leftow show that idea of an omnipresent Spirit is not intrinsically incoherent if we see such a Spirit as an agent outside space and time that uniquely executed His intentions in the spatio-temporal continuum. The question of whether such a Spirit exists, as we have seen, lies at the heart of the arguments for God’s existence.”  Page 154

Flew made the transition from atheist to theist.  It was a path of simply following the evidence to where it leads.  He says: “Science qua science cannot furnish an argument for God’s existence.  But the three items of evidence we have considered in this volume – the laws nature, life with its teleological organization, and the existence of the universe – can only be explained in the light of an Intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world.  Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through the understanding of the structures they unveil and map.”  Page 155   Flew was willing to learn more and connect with others in their thoughts and was open to new ideas.   He now believes in an infinitely intelligent mind that created the universe.  He knows many who have claimed to have contacted that mind and remains hopeful that that mind may contact him.  His final statement is: “I have not (contacted the mind) yet.  But who knows what could happen next?  Someday I might hear a Voice that says, ‘Can you hear me now?”

I have no doubt that Anthony Flew with his humility will soon hear that wonderful voice of the Lord who loves him.

Evan Wiggs

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Robert Jastrow on God and the Big Bang

 

 

Published on Jun 26, 2012

 

Henry “Fritz” Schaefer comments on a popular quote made by scientist Robert Jastrow. Jastrow (who Carl Sagan was too scared to debate) is an agnostic but believes that the Big Bang leaves room for the existence of God.

 

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Discussion (3 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

 

 

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William Lane Craig vs Peter Atkins: “Does God Exist?”, University of Manchester, October 2011

 

 

Published on Apr 10, 2012

 

This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the University of Manchester (including an overspill room). It was recorded on Wednesday 26th October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Atkins is former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Lincoln College.

The debate was chaired by Christopher Whitehead, Head of Chemistry School at the University. Post-debate discussion was moderated by Peter S Williams, Philosopher in Residence at the Damaris Trust, UK.

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Making Sense of Faith and Science

Uploaded on May 16, 2008

Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe in God and be a credible scientist. He explains that the theistic world view of Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday and Maxwell was instrumental in the rise of modern science itself. Presented as part of the Let There be Light series. Series: Let There Be Light [5/2003] [Humanities] [Show ID: 7338]

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Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew

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Article from 2005 indicated Antony Flew abandoned atheism because of Law of Biogenesis!!!!

 

Weighing the Evidence

An Atheist Abandons Atheism

By Chuck Colson|Published Date: January 10, 2005

Antony Flew, the 81-year-old British philosophy professor who taught at Oxford and other leading universities, became an atheist at age 15. Throughout his long career he argued — including in debates with an atheist-turned-Christian named C. S. Lewis — that there was a “presumption of atheism,” that is, the existence of a creator could not be proved.

But he’s now been forced to face the evidence. It comes from the Intelligent Design movement, led by Dr. Phillip Johnson and particularly the work of Michael Behe, the Lehigh biochemist who has proven the “irreducible complexity” of the human cell structure. Though eighty-one years old, Flew has not let his thinking fossilize, but has faithfully followed his own dictum to “go where the evidence leads.”

Christian philosophy professor Gary Habermas of Liberty University conducted an interview with Flew that will be published in the winter issue of Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and Biola University. Flew told Habermas that a pivotal point in his thinking was when he realized two major flaws in the various theories of how nature might have created itself. First, he recognized that evolutionary theory has no reasonable explanation for “the first emergence of living from non-living matter” — that is, the origin of life. Second, even if a living cell or primitive animal had somehow assembled itself from non-living chemicals, he reasoned it would have no ability to reproduce.

Flew told Habermas, “This is the creature, the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”

Flew has, thus, become a Deist — that is, he acknowledges God as creator but not as a personal deity. In his opinion, “There is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or any transactions between that God and individual human beings.” In fact, he told a group last May that he considers both the Christian God and the Islamic God to be “omnipotent Oriental despots — cosmic Saddam Husseins.”

But a crack is beginning to develop in his opinion that God hasn’t spoken through Scripture. When he reads the first chapter of Genesis, Flew says he’s impressed that a book written thousands of years ago harmonizes with twenty-first-century science. “That this biblical account might be scientifically accurate,” says Flew, “raises the possibility that it is revelation.” A book containing factual statements that no human knew about at the time of writing seems to argue that the authors must have had coaching from the Creator.

The evidence is there for all who will look, as his one-time adversary C. S. Lewis discovered, and as more and more thinking intellectuals are discovering today. So it is that Antony Flew, perhaps the most famous philosopher of atheism, is just a step or two away from the kingdom.


For further reading and information:Today’s BreakPoint offer: Read Dr. Gary Habermas’s interview with Antony Flew, “Atheist Becomes Deist: Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Anthony Flew,” from the winter 2004 issue of Philosophia Christi.

Read more about “irreducible complexity” in the “Worldview for Parents” page titled, “More Than Coincidence.”

Famous Atheist Now Believes in God,” ABC News, 9 December 2004.

Stuart Wavell and Will Iredale, “Sorry, says atheist-in-chief, I do believe in God after all,” London Sunday Times, 12 December 2004.

Andrew Klavan, “Going All the Way: An atheist ‘converts’ to intelligent design. Why so timid, Mr. Flew?” Wall Street Journal, 24 December 2004.

Read the “Letter from Antony Flew on Darwinism and Theology” from Philosophy Now.

Read Flew’s previous position: “The Presumption of Atheism” from his 1984 book God Freedom and Immortality: A Critical Analysis.

Jonathan Witt, “Entertaining the notion of a place of wonder,” Seattle Times, 20 December 2004.

Peter S. Williams, “A Change of Mind for Antony Flew,” Access Research Network.

William Dembski, ed., Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (ISI, 2004).

Phillip E. Johnson, The Right Questions (InterVarsity, 2002).

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