Scott Cherry's Assessment of the 4/9 Debate Between Ted Barham and Ozair Tahir
Last Friday I attended an informal debate between Ted Barham and Ozair Tahir on the question, "Is the trinity logical, rational?" This is my assessment of that debate and my personal rebuttal of Ozair’s argument including a summary of the doctrine of the trinity. Ozair assumed the standard Muslim position that the trinity is non-rational/illogical. But although he is a Muslim, he did not overtly argue his position on the basis of the Qur'an, rather on the pretense of logic and reason. But what he thought was good logic and sound reasoning was, in fact, fallacious. Throughout the course of the debate Ozair repeatedly demanded of Ted, "If the Bible said there were squared circles, would you believe it?" It was a trap that Ted would not fall into. Although Ted could have been much more assertive in putting forth biblical examples of the trinity, Ozair seemed generally disinterested in such evidence anyway. Instead his mind was made up that the trinity was a "squared circle" as he repeatedly resorted to this pet question.
Is God Consistent in His Moral Standards? Does He Have to Be?
The God of the Torah is consistent, it is one of his divine attributes. God is not arbitrary or random. He is consistent in both his attributes and His moral standards. That's why passages about his love for foreigners matter, and why they are not irrelevant. Nothing about God is irrelevant. The LORD is consistent in his love. We Christians don't just ascribe love to God because we want him to be loving. It's because HE said he is loving. God gave Moses his divine truth in the Tawrat, or Torah. In it God revealed much about His nature. He revealed his essential attributes to Moses who penned them for the Jews, the Muslims, and the world: Power, Holiness, Compassion, Righteousness, Mercy, and Love, for example. Who are we to question what God says about Himself in His own words?
Did God allow or condone sex slavery and pedophilia in the Torah? ...No.
To our current Western ears some passages in the Torah such as Numbers 31:18 and Deuteronomy 21:10-14 generally evoke a negative emotional response, but they must not be viewed through a 21st-century lens only. We can hardly avoid using a modern-day lens, but we must also use an ancient Near Eastern as well as a broad Mosaic lens. These passages should not be misconstrued in support of slavery, sex slavery, rape, or the objectification of women. But they do require careful thought and interpretation. In light of the ancient, NE pagan moral codes that 'governed' slavery, sex, marriage and foreign relations, the skeptic’s claim that Yahweh condoned or permitted sex-slavery, pedophilia, or marital rape is untenable. Throughout the Hebrew Tanakh, Yahweh presents himself as a God of goodness, justice, and love. He explicitly set himself apart from the false gods of the surrounding nations in numerous ways. This was embodied in his miraculous acts toward his people but also through superior laws given through Prophet Moses and other prophets. In them he introduced a superior socio-sexual morality that was unmatched by any pagan society of the day or by Islam millennia later.
Sunlight, Ultraviolet Radiation and Covid-19
by Roland Clarke—
The Covid pandemic has profoundly shaken the world. “Is this a wake-up call?” Many people in the west who've lost jobs because of lockdown are receiving government handouts as emergency relief. Meanwhile countless numbers of people suffer loneliness, anxiety and depression. In fact, suicide is increasing. It is no secret: Covid 19 elicits a deep-seated fear of death. In his book, Struggle to Dawn, Ugo Betty stated a profound, if obvious truth, “Every tiny part of us cries out against the idea of dying and hopes to live forever.”
Why would an all-good and all-powerful God allow a pandemic?
by John Shaheen—
John is a junior at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He especially loves philosophy and biology.
Fear is aroused, panic abounds, medical supplies dwindle, and the economy suffers… where is God? Why would he let the people that he loves suffer? Within months, the Coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the world. What seemed like alarmism now seems like inadequate preparation. Surely, the question on the minds of many is why would God allow this? Where is the God of infinite and perfect love and mercy?
In response to the logical problem of evil, many solutions have been offered, the most famous being the Free will Defense. Perhaps evil and suffering are a consequence of allowing free beings to exist. The objection soon arose, what about natural evil? How are floods, diseases, earthquakes, etc. the result of free beings? Alvin Plantinga suggested that perhaps these disasters are the result of the free actions of supernatural beings such as angels or demons. Though this is definitely a solution that makes natural evil logically compatible with a perfect and powerful God, it still feels unsatisfactory. Why did God give these beings this kind of power? He could have easily restricted their power without limiting their free will. They can only cause this kind of havoc if God allows them. God is still the ultimate authority and power in this paradigm. Furthermore, in an age of scientific knowledge of the causes of natural disasters, this solution may seem unsatisfactory to the naturalist.