Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’d like to thank a reader for the comment on the 1 Corinthians 13 series. It’s good to know it’s appreciated. By personal request before doing the next series, I’m going to first take a look at what’s happened in Norway. The question I am addressing is that of the relationship of religion to violence.
Like most of you, I haven’t read the manifesto. I doubt any of us fully have seeing as how long it is. I have heard bits and pieces of it, and although some think that he was a Christian, I am inclined to think that he was not. However, even if he was, it doesn’t really matter to me.
The question to be asked tonight is if religion leads to violence. I think the answer to that question is yes…sometimes. I think non-religion can also lead to violence. What is the cause of violence is the evil that exists in the human heart. There are facets of beliefs that can spark those violent tendencies in people. There are some beliefs of secularism that I believe can do that and there are some beliefs that are religious that I believe can do that.
Note also that because a worldview leads to violence, that would necessarily mean it is false. For instance, I am not a Muslim, but if it was true and there was an Allah and it was His order to kill the infidel, well that’d be that. I don’t believe Christianity is like that however nor do I believe in a voluntaristic approach to morality. Of course, if God says to do something, it is good, but it is not good just because God says it.
While we could look at this and see if it proves or disproves a belief system is true or false, it does not. It is a factor we can consider in looking at a belief system. However, as a Christian, I also realize that my belief system lies on a different foundation. The argument will not work this way and it doesn’t even follow.
The Norwegian killer was a Christian. (Assumed for the sake of argument. Not a belief I hold.)
Therefore, Jesus did not rise from the dead.
Thus, rather than actually studying the accounts and seeing if they are historical and then if they are historically accurate, the solution to some supposedly is to just look at an event today and say that based on this event, that one in the past didn’t happen, even though there’s no logical connection between the two. This is also the case with arguments from the problem of natural evil. Because a tsunami or earthquake hits, it does not prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
This is something also that sets apart Christianity from other religions. Other religions do take place in history of course. Muhammad, Moses, and others are all said to have lived at a certain point in time. They’re all said to have handed down what they wrote at a certain time. (Some qualification with Muhammad based on whether he could write or not. If not, he at least dictated his writings.) Joseph Smith lived. The Buddha lived. These are historical truths.
However, in the Christian tradition, a historical event is at the heart of the belief system. As I told a friend tonight over dinner, science and philosophy are important. You can use science to defend Christianity. You can use philosophy. However, if you are going to prove that Jesus rose from the dead, you will have to go to history.
With Islam and Judaism, I cannot really point to a historical event that confirms the teachings of Muhammad or the teachings of a prophet like Isaiah. In that case, we often look at their teachings. Both of these religions can easily rely on right living. For Chfristianity, it’s also right beliefs since our beliefs about Jesus have Him central to the religion and thus, some claims about Him are essential.
That’s not saying how you live isn’t important. It definitely is. However, the resurrection of Christ is not proven or disproven by events that happen today. If you want to see if Christianity is true, you have to look at Christianity. While I could say that if atheism is true, what happens in atheistic societies follows, that also does not prove atheism false. I have to look at the claims of atheism and study them. If I don’t approve of killing the infidel in Islam, that doesn’t prove Islam is false. I have to look at the claims.
Debate about the killer might tell us about ethics, but if we want to see the truth, we need to look at the worldview.