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You apparently don't actually understand the argument. Implicit is an uncaused first cause. That's why it's called the argument from first cause. There are only two possible explanations for the existence of the universe, either it had a beginning or it didn't. The steady state theory has swallowed the last bullet. Nobody can believe it anymore. If the universe existed from eternity past there would never have been a time when the universe hadn't already suffered extinction at the hands of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. So that's off the table. What is needed is an uncaused first cause, a creator not subject to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. That uncaused first cause is God, the creator of all things including the 2nd law. The argument from first cause tells us very little about the nature of the creator, but it does insist there must be one. Of late some have asserted that the universe created itself. Cosmologists are having a very hard time making that fit. I am content to sit by and smirk while they tear each others' theories apart. As hard as this may be to swallow, God is easily the most probable explanation proposed to date.
Not at all. If it isn't based on fact it isn't faith, it's superstition. When a child jumps to daddy from the couch he has faith in the fact that daddy is there and will catch him. It is a misconception, popular since the 19th century, that Christianity is a leap of faith. (Indiana Jones reading in a medieval document about a leap of faith in "The Last Crusade" is an anachronism. Christianity calls us to a step of faith. When you drive your car up a hill do you prepare to stop as you reach the crest, wondering if the road you cannot see will be there when you reach the top? No, you have faith because of the road behind you that the road ahead of you will be there. Based on all that God has done for me that I can see, I take the reasonable step of trusting Him for what I do not yet see.
That there are things we cannot explain is without doubt. It is in the nature of a miracle that it is outside the normal range of our experience. Admittedly, science cannot account for a miracle. But no matter your opinion on God, Jesus or the virgin birth there are things you cannot explain. Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins notwithstanding, there exists no compelling explanation for a naturalistic origin of the universe or of life. The much maligned argument from first cause has never actually been refuted, merely ridiculed and rejected. Unfortunately, ridicule and rejection pass for intellectual discourse all too often these days. The intelligentsia substitute clever repartee for reasoned argument and consider themselves intellectuals for it. But they're really just lazy.
The purpose of apologetics is to demonstrate why Christianity is reasonable and believable by intelligent people. That there was a man named Jesus who lived in first century Israel may be denied by a few historians, but they are in the minority. There is evidence outside the Bible sufficient to convince most historians that Jesus lived. So the next question is, do the gospels really tell us anything reliable about him. There is very good evidence, sufficient to satisfy the most demanding critical thinkers, like C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton, that the gospels convey an accurate account of the life and teaching of Jesus. Not exhaustive, to be sure. There are lots of things we would like to know that are not included in the gospels. But the fact that the gospels are not biography the way that we like to think of it today does not automatically render them drivel. There is too much evidence to present in this little forum. That's why people write books on apoligetics...because it takes books. The evidence for the gospels is sufficient to satisfy the most demanding critic, but it is not sufficient to satisfy the least cynic. The question is, which are you?
Eddie, why would you think your sarcasm would make faith in Jesus Christ look more credible or appealing?
rnaber - It is unfortunate that your discussion with DSMike has become an exercise in incivility. Let me see if I put it to you a different way because I think you have made a logical error, inverting Limbaugh's argument invalidly. Can we agree that some people are willing to die for what they believe is true? Can we also agree that actual truth is irrelevant, only whether they believe it to be true? Thus the jihadist and the modern Christian martyr are in the same position. Their deaths prove nothing either way about the objective truth of their claims. Nobody alive today was alive in the days of Jesus or Mohammed. There are no surviving eye-witnesses. That is not the case, however, with those who wrote the New Testament. Contrary to what many people think, the gospels were not written hundreds of years after the events they relate, or even many decades later. They were written early enough that many people who witnessed these things would still be alive. The writer of Luke, for example, says he personally investigated these things. Luke accompanied Paul on his final return to Jerusalem. What did Luke do while Paul was imprisoned for two years? It is likely that he took this time to interview people who knew Jesus. This was around thirty years after after the resurrection. There would still have been plenty of people alive who could say, "Yeah, I remember Lazarus." Or, "Talitha? She's still around. I can show you where she lives." Or perhaps, "That feeding the five thousand business, that never happened." The difference between the jihadists and the apostles is that the jihadists are willing to die for what they believe to be true even though they never saw it, while the apostles were willing to die for what they believed to be true because they saw it. Limbaugh's argument is that many people are willing to die for what they believe to be true, even if it isn't really true; but people are not likely to die for what they know is not true, and the apostles were in a position to know because they were there. Time is the key element which you have missed. You cannot displace Limbaugh's argument in time.
In response to:

The Root of 9/11: Bad Theology

Bob502 Wrote: Sep 11, 2014 10:13 AM
So why did these nineteen men think that they would be martyrs? A martyr is one who is killed for his belief, not one who kills himself. The man who kills himself is just a suicide, regardless of how many others he takes with him. Even if martyrdom is a shortcut to Paradise, suicide is not.
In response to:

Success or Failure?

Bob502 Wrote: Sep 11, 2014 9:23 AM
What does "obvious intelligence" mean? Michelle O., of course, asserts that her husband is "smart as a whip." He seems, to me, to be of moderately above average intelligence, but certainly not exceptionally so. Furthermore, the Presidency does not require exceptionally high intelligence. It requires exceptionally good judgement. Obama has shown himself over and over to have exceptionally poor judgement.
In response to:

Is There a Link between Darwin and WWI?

Bob502 Wrote: Sep 04, 2014 10:34 AM
Is there supposed to be a page 2 to this article? As it stands right now it makes no sense at all.
In response to:

The Continued Farce

Bob502 Wrote: Aug 29, 2014 3:50 AM
"But climate is different from weather!" Well, yes, after a fashion...but not so very different. Climate is nothing more or less than weather described over a long period of time. That worldwide weather is not, in fact, getting warmer means that the global climate is not getting warmer. The true believers say that global warming has "paused." Until such time, if ever, that it begins to warm again it has not paused; it has stopped.
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