Today's Update

I'm working on a LOT of projects right now, on top of my two jobs and family stuff, but I have contracted the blogging bug recently, so look for a few entries in this current series before another period of extended absence.

And remember, be excellent to each other.

J

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Lighthearted Discussion on the Necessity of a Divine Creator - Part Two

This is part two in our lighthearted discussion on the necessity of a divine creator. For part one, click here.

So, we’re going with ‘nothing exploded, which brought everything (the sum total of mass and energy within our universe) into existence.’ Alright, if you say so.

Let’s assume that for a moment.

I’ll ask the question again, what do we understand about explosions?

The most obvious answer – aside from ‘cool guys don’t look at them’ – in my opinion, is that they are destructive. That word, destructive, is interesting in light of our current conversation, because what we’re trying to do is decide whether the most obvious answer to the question of ‘where did our universe come from,’ is a huge explosion. What we need is for the cause of our universe to be constructive, but our working explanation right now is most definitely the largest explosion ever, and being the largest would likely also mean it is the most destructive.

Again, we need a constructive cause, not a destructive cause. In searching for a proper hypothesis, applying the most basic rules of science, we should be looking for repeatability, consistency of results within experimentation. With that in mind, to our best knowledge, has humanity ever observed a constructive explosion?

For instance, has anyone anywhere ever piled a bunch of metal, plastic, and glass scraps on top of a stick of dynamite, pushed down that plunger at a safe distance of course, and observed a television being constructed within the explosion?

How about just attaching some plastic explosives to a large block of marble and pushing that little red button on your cool, spy-movie-villain remote control and observing a statue of a member of the Greek Pantheon emerge?

How about tossing a grenade into a production studio in Hollywood and getting a Summer Blockbuster?

No, Michael Bay movies don’t count.

I trust you see my point by now. No time in recorded history has humanity witnessed an explosion doing anything other than reduce coherent information, specified complexity, and usable energy, and yet everywhere we look in our universe we see coherent information, specified complexity, and usable energy DEPLETING – DETERIORATING – DRAINING.

My apologies for that unnecessary alliteration.

Entropy is a fact. The amount of usable energy in our universe is ever-reducing. The ultimate outcome will be what some depressed brainiac once deemed ‘Heat Death.’ Our planet, solar system, universe, and yes, our species, is rocketing toward equilibrium, which means the entire universe will reach a state of absolute zero. No life can exist. No stars can shine. All is gray and dead. And, despite our best efforts, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. It is a universal law. All matter and energy tends towards disorder, chaos.

And within this whole abysmally bleak, destructive reality, the theory we are supposed to believe about the origin of our universe is that a universally-accepted fact, namely, that explosions are destructive one-hundred percent of the time, one time was not true, and that one time an incalculably-large explosion created our incredibly-ordered and intricately-complex universe, and that everything has been getting less ordered and less complex ever since. And the one difference, which I suppose is supposed to make us see it as a special case, is that that one time the explosion came from nothing.

Riiiight.

I’m sorry, but Ockham’s Razor is going to chop all of that horsecrap right off and cause the thinking person to look for a simpler explanation. In this situation, as crazy as it might seem to some folks, the simpler explanation is that an eternal, timeless, incorporeal, infinitely intelligent and powerful, uncaused agent caused the universe to exist, tweaking it in all the right ways in order that it would not implode upon itself or expand so fast that nothing could exist, and to allow for life to flourish on at least one planet in one solar system in one galaxy in all of the universe.

Listen, we know with near certainty that the universe is not eternal. For one thing, an infinite regress in time is a factual impossibility. It cannot exist, and, like nothing, does not exist. Therefore, our universe had to begin to exist. That includes time. Space, matter, and time all began to exist simultaneously, because before it existed nothing existed, and again, nothing is – say it with me – no-thing. There was no matter or energy, but there was also no space to put matter and energy, and there was also no time to facilitate the sequential order of events.

I understand that this is an incredibly dense paragraph I have just penned, so I will follow this post up with as many more as I deem necessary to unpack it adequately. But for now, can we all just agree, even if you happen to believe that a non-divinely-originated Big Bang created our universe, that it is ridiculous in the highest degree and that you should just stop believing it right now?

Okay, maybe that was a bit too much to ask. For a person to change their paradigm is often more difficult than squeezing a star-sized camel through the eye of a quark-sized needle. Which is to say, it is sometimes nigh on impossible.

So, hopefully I’ve given you something to think about. A stone in your shoe, figuratively – as Greg Koukl would say.


Until next time, peace, love, and a third thing.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Lighthearted Discussion on The Necessity of a Divine Creator - Part One

Why do intelligent people believe in God?

It is the belief of this believer that belief in God is an intrinsic feature within every human, and that that belief is either bolstered or weakened by circumstances and information throughout one’s life, until that individual becomes convinced to believe one way or the other. So, all of the subjective reasons that a person might list for believing or not believing are merely the strengthening, or else the weakening of a belief which has been there since that person began living.

Scriptural support for this belief is derived both from my understanding of who God is and what He is like, and from the whole counsel of the Word of God, but is primarily rooted in this one amazing revelation, found in Ecclesiastes 3:11.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

What does it mean to “set eternity in the hearts of men (meaning, all people)?” It’s not all that difficult to figure out. This means that God has given every human an instinctual belief, anchored to the heart (figuratively), not the mind, in eternity. Every person begins life with a desire to persist after we leave this mortal coil. It’s not that we all necessarily want to live forever in the same way which we currently do, but that we long for an improved and everlasting existence.

This belief in eternity is intricately tied to a belief in an eternal being, for without an infinite, uncaused cause, there is no explanation for finite beings coming into existence with an intrinsic belief in the eternal.

I could honestly write all day about the theological and scriptural reasons I believe the way I do, but I actually wanted to speak more about the intellectual and logical reasons to believe in God rather than why I believe all people intrinsically do believe in God. Before I jump into that, it is worth noting that there have been quite a few studies at the university level – Oxford, to name one – which have shown that a belief in God/gods and the afterlife is not learned, but rather that humanity seems to be wired or programmed for such belief.

Again, this is not the purpose for me writing today, so I’ll leave this subject for another time. My goal here and now is to simply enumerate some of the reasons why belief in God is more reasonable than not. However . . . I have gone on for a bit too long already with my introduction, so I think I’ll pick a short one, and then do a few more in subsequent blog posts on this subject.

I will be utilizing logic, personal knowledge, and a healthy dose of Ockham’s Razor in my reasoning. To begin, I’ll pose my primary question which will get the ball rolling, and then it’s all downhill:

  • Where did the universe come from?


Before we attempt to answer that question, let’s ask ourselves several more:

  • What is nothing?
  • What is something?
  • What do we understand about explosions?
  • What is the Second Law of Thermodynamics?
  • Is an infinite regress actually possible?


We could probably go on and on with questions like these, but I’m not trying to write a book, here. This is just one layman pouring his thoughts into the internet, with the hope that someone will find some illumination within the words.

Alright, so nothing, I think we can all agree, is the complete absence of anything at all. It is literally ‘no-thing.’ Now, I shouldn’t have to try too hard to convince you, good reader, that we have never observed something arising from nothing. In fact, we have never observed ‘nothing.’ Everywhere we look there is something. Even if you can’t see it with your naked eyes – and why aren’t your eyes dressed? – there is something there.

Also, empty space itself is not nothing. See, again nothing is no-thing. Empty space is something, so it cannot be nothing. That’s the Law of Non-contradiction working for us there.

I ask you, as an intellectual mind inhabiting a human meat suit, if we don’t ever observe something coming from nothing – a thing, be it a star or a butterfly or a dental hygienist or a jar of peanut butter, popping into existence, then what could possibly convince a thinking person, even a barely-thinking-person, that EVERYTHING popped into existence?

It didn’t pop into existence; you say? It exploded into existence!

Right, well I don’t want to insult your intellect by responding this way, but we have never observed anything ‘exploding’ into existence either. We have never observed nothing explode at all. Nothing, in fact, cannot explode… because, well, it’s nothing. Nothing can do nothing because nothing is no-thing. It does not exist. 

Nothing is what rocks dream about. (Aristotle said that, sucka!)

The running ‘theory’ (read: wild speculation), however, is that nothing didn’t explode; it is that something, namely ‘swirling gases’ in the form of what is known as the ‘singularity,’ popped into existence, then that exploded, so really we’re right back to square one. But listen, for the sake of argument I’ll just work from the stance that maybe, juuuuuust maybe, one time, a long, long time ago, nothing exploded.

And that is where we will pick up next time.

Until then, peace, love, and a third thing.




Monday, October 5, 2015

A Few Thoughts On Worship - Part Three

Some questions may never be answered. Questions like, "how many stars are in the sky?" or "what ever happened to Judge Reinhold?" or "what is a 'Nicki Minaj' and how do we get rid of it?" - but one questions that no one thought would ever be answered will be answered, right here and right now. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

What is Worship Anyway? - Part Two

A not-so-brief introduction to part two...

What do you think of when you hear, or read, the word worship?

Go ahead and think about it, but not for too long! I want to know the first thing you think of. Well, I want you to know the first thing you think of.

Got it? Okay, now write it down, or type it into the comments, or tweet it at me, scrawl it on your palm with a Sharpie... whatever. It'll be useful later.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Worship Tips Part Three: 5 Ways to Show Your Team That They Are Valued

This article originally appeared on worshipleader.com's online section, but as it turns out they don't have unlimited space to store archived articles, and they publish them pretty frequently, so I figured I'd put it up here as the third entry in my recently renamed Worship Tips series (Part One, Part Two). But hey, if they liked it enough to put it on their website for a brief moment in time, then you might want to just set aside five or seven minutes to read this bad boy! I have altered it ever so slightly to match my current style better, but when I say "ever" I mean it!

Hashtag: The Human Team - Part Three

Well, well, well... If it ain't you...

~heh~

You gotta lotta nerve showing yer ugly mug 'round these parts. You know that, Skeeter? Well, since yer here, why not sit a spell 'n indulge me as ah try'n save the whole galdarned world with nuthin' but good ol' fashioned?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hashtag: The Human Team - Part Two

Today we find ourselves hovering, like Chinese Lanterns being mistaken for extraterrestrial spacecraft by folks with generally questionable reputations, in week two of my “Hashtag: The Human Team” (#thehumanteam) blog series, where I endeavor to encourage my fellow man (and women, and children! Sure. Why not? They're people too!) to stop racing and start teaming up (#thehumanteam)!