Martin Luther, QandA Debate and public opinion

debate by bobmendo
debate, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

Last night I watched the ABC broadcast of a forum entitled "Q and A" here in Australia. Featuring the American scientist Lawrence Krauss and the Aussie apologist John Dickson and three other panelists, the issue of science vs religion popped up several times.

Krauss was forthright and brazen. He opposes anything divine being brought into the picture. Dickson was irenic and forthright. He landed the Jesus bomb several times, especially at the end.

The others weighed in, but really the issue revolved around those two. Tony Jones moderated well.

I so agree with Deakin University philosophy lecturer Patrick Stokes that Krauss evidenced the "new denialism." He says in his blog overnight,

"In response to a critical review by philosopher of physics David Albert, Krauss called Albert a “moronic philosopher” and told the Atlantic’s Ross Andersen that philosophers are threatened by science because “science progresses and philosophy doesn’t”.

Krauss’ gripe with philosophy seems to be, as Massimo Pigliucci eloquently points out, that philosophy hasn’t solved scientific problems. The same charge is levelled even more bluntly by none other than Stephen Hawking, who in 2010 declared 'philosophy was dead.'

According to these scientists, philosophy and physics were chasing the same prize – an understanding of the ultimate nature of reality – and physics simply got there first."

Krauss said, Whenever religion enters into the scientific conversation, "they get it wrong." That's too large and too defaming for me.

Dickson agreed with Krauss too often for my comfort. He knocked back 6-day creationists as if we were illogical and borderline stupid. And his agreement with climate change and pretty much all of science without qualifiers did not sit right with me.

That said, Dickson did a marvelous job testifying about Jesus and Christianity. He made a good appeal for "all that (science)...and Jesus." Meaning he did not need to defame the scientists in order to proclaim and acclaim salvation in the Messiah. That was very good.

Watch online here: Online Q and A

I like debate. I like controversy. I wouldn't be able to be a "Jew for Jesus" without such a liking.

That said, respect is key in a modern world. And forthright arguments applauded. I hope you like the show.

Martin Luther's famed letter to Pope Leo should honestly temper any debate about religion. It is in full, at the end of my blog today. Luther makes clear that he is not ruled by political correctness. He calls spades spades and is humble throughout. That's a good model of debate. And makes for a lively one.

Thanks to the ABC for such. Although I think the extra panelists often are unnecessary for the flurry, and the appeal to the general public is wide enough with a great topic and reasonable debaters who are able to bring the issues down to 'everyman' level.

Luther's comments to the pope here:
The Freedom of a Christian
Luther, Martin 1483-1546.

To Leo X, Pope at Rome, Martin Luther wishes salvation in Christ; Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Living among the monsters of this age with whom I am now for the third year waging war, I am compelled occasionally to look up to you, Leo, most blessed father, and to think of you. Indeed, since you are occasionally regarded as the sole cause of my warfare, I cannot help thinking of you. To be sure, the undeserved raging of your godless flatterers against me has compelled me to appeal from your see to a future council, despite the decrees of your predecessors Pius and Julius, who with a foolish tyranny forbade such an appeal. Nevertheless, I have never alienated myself from Your Blessedness to such an extent that I should not with all my heart wish you and your see every blessing, for which I have besought God with earnest prayers to the best of my ability. It is true that I have been so bold as to despise and look down upon those who have tried to frighten me with the majesty of your name and authority. There is one thing, however, which I cannot ignore and which is the cause of my writing once more to Your Blessedness. It has come to my attention that I am accused of great indiscretion, said to be my great fault, in which, it is said, I have not spared even your person.

I freely vow that I have, to my knowledge, spoken only good and honorable words concerning you whenever I have thought of you. If I had ever done otherwise, I myself could by no means condone it, but should agree entirely with the judgment which others have formed of me; and I should do nothing more gladly than recant such indiscretion and impiety. I have called you a Daniel im Babylon; and everyone who reads what I have written knows how zealously I defended your innocence against your defamer Sylvester.Indeed, your reputation and the fame of your blameless life, celebrated as they are throughout the world by the writings of many great men, are too well known and too honorable to be assailed by anyone, no matter how great he is. I am not so foolish as to attack one whom all people praise. As a matter of fact, I have always tried, and will always continue, not to attack even those whom the public dishonors, for I take no pleasure in the faults of any man, since I am conscious of the beam in my own eye. I could not, indeed, be the first one to cast a stone at the adulteress [John 8: 1-ll].

I have, to be sure, sharply attacked ungodly doctrines in general, and I have snapped at my opponents, not because of their bad morals, but because of their ungodliness. Rather than repent this in the least, I have determined to persist in that fervent zeal and to despise the judgment of men, following the example of Christ who in his zeal called his opponents "a brood of vipers," "blind fools," "hypocrites," "children of the devil" [Matt. 23:13, 17, 33; John 8:44]. Paul branded Magus [Elymas, the magician] as the "son of the devil, . . . full of all deceit and villainy" [Acts 13:10], and he calls others "dogs," "deceivers," and "adulterers" [Phil. 3:2; II Cor. 11:13; 2: 17]. If you will allow people with sensitive feelings to judge, they would consider no person more stinging and unrestrained in his denunciations than Paul. Who is more stinging than the prophets? Nowadays, it is true, we are made so sensitive by the raving crowd of flatterers that we cry out that we are stung as soon as we meet with disapproval. When we cannot ward off the truth with any other pretext, we flee from it by ascribing it to a fierce temper, impatience, and immodesty. What is the good of salt if it does not bite? Of what use is the edge of a sword if it does not cut? "Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully." [Jer. 48:10].

Therefore, most excellent Leo, I beg you to give me a hearing after I have vindicated myself by this letter, and believe me when I say that I have never thought ill of you personally, that I am the kind of a person who would wish you all good things eternally, and that I have no quarrel with any man concerning his morals but only concerning the word of truth. In all other matters I will yield to any man whatsoever; but I have neither the power nor the will to deny the Word of God. If any man has a different opinion concerning me, he does not think straight or understand what I have actually said.


Lynda said…
Bob, thank you. I felt exactly the same way and found myself a complete outsider in the debate from the very beginning. It seemed a one sided debate - US (the panel), THEM (6-Day Creation believers). Hope to see you at Passover in Ryde!
Lynda said…
Thank you, Bob, for your comments. I felt exactly the same way from the outside. It seemed a one sided debate from the outset: Us (the panel), Them (6-Day creationists).

"Dickson agreed with Krauss too often for my comfort. He knocked back 6-day creationists as if we were illogical and borderline stupid. And his agreement with climate change and pretty much all of science without qualifiers did not sit right with me."

I hope to see you at the Passover in Ryde!
Plagio Clase said…
I think it is amazing that 6-day creationists are villified as they are, including on this program by both the atheist and the Christian. You would think that the YECs are twisting the Bible in a pernicious, convoluted, unnatural way, and that they are scientific zombies.
Actually the opposite is the case. They are reading Scripture as Jesus and the Apostles read it. And they are informed scientifically and do excellent scientific research, publish scientific journals and run scientific conferences.
I may be wrong, but the reasons I suspect for the animosity is that the secularist/atheist desperate to keep their fortress against their Creator in tact. But why should the Christian attack those who are being faithful to the Word of God as written? Are they intimidated by science? Are they trying to curry academic favour with the world? It's an interesting phenomenon that 20 years ago I would not have believed would be possible.

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