Logic And Faith
with Bill Nugent 
Sometimes people's hearts are open more to logic or science, rather than Scripture. God has gifted Bill in bringing both together in a way we can understand.
Check with him each month for a different message.
On Jan 29, 2021, at 3:29 PM, <b1e1nugent@aol.com> <b1e1nugent@aol.com> wrote:

DEFENDING THE FAITH #351
 
Jean-Paul Sartre: the Most Influential 
Philosopher
of the 20th Century
 
by Bill Nugent
 

John Paul Sartre (1905-1980) is considered by many to be the single most persuasive and enigmatic philosopher of the 20th century. He was a radical atheist existentialist and towards the end of his life, an anarchist philosopher. He spoke into the hearts and minds of millions of college students and professors.

One reason why he made a profound impact on society is because he wrote novels and plays that taught his radical existentialist philosophy to the masses of the people. He was not an isolated ivory tower type. I was taught about one of Sartre's plays when I was in the seventh grade.

Also contributing to his fame was his partnership with radical feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986). They were a couple from 1929 until Sartre's death in 1980. Simone de Beauvoir was also a novelist philosopher and very famous in her own right. They never married. They had an "open" relationship and were involved with other people. Neither Sartre or de Beauvoir ever married or had children. De Beauvoir was considerably taller than Sartre who was just five feet tall.

Sartre had a blind right eye. His sight deteriorated so much in his other eye that he was nearly blind the last seven or or so years of his life.

Sartre was also closely associated with the famous novelist philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960). Camus was an important contributor to the absurdist school of philosophy. Absurdism is a philosophy that seeks to reconcile the contradiction between the tendency of human beings to desire to have a purpose in life and what the atheist existentialist philosophers see as the absurdity and purposelessness of the universe. It's the contradiction between desire for purpose and the atheist purposelessness of the universe.

The radical atheistic existentialism of Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus is postmodern. More on that later.The three were born in France, lived out their lives there and died there. They contributed to the tragic falling away from the Christian faith in France.

These three philosophers were like armchair quarterbacks viewing humanity, society and philosophy from an atheist perspective. They fumbled the ball. They viewed from a perspective of atheism, hence no creator, no sovereign, no lawgiver and no judge. They claimed there's no purpose or meaning for the universe, no goal for the universe and very importantly: they implicitly deny any conscious existence after death. They claimed there's no God to give meaning to the universe and no God to which we are accountable in the afterlife.

Atheistic secular humanism claims that human consciousness ceases to exist at death (Humanist Manifesto II, 1973, Section Two). The radical atheists therefore claim that there is no future, after death, for any human being.

To the Christian the future is big and the present is small. To The atheist the present is all there is and the future is non-existent. The worldviews of each could not possibly be more different. The hopelessness, purposelessness and futility of Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus is really the end product of their atheism.

Jean-Paul Sartre's most famous works are his novel "Nausea" (1938), his treatise "Being and Nothingness" (1943) and his play "No Exit" (1944). Sartre's novel, Nausea is really a manifesto of existentialism. Sartre is famous for saying that "existence precedes essence." I'm getting a little technical here but let me just briefly explain that since atheists reject the Creator no essence (essence = purpose) can exist for any human being. They claim there's no Creator in heaven planning or giving purpose to a human life and therefore there's no essence. When a person is born and grows up he has existence. Then that person creates his own essence, his own purpose by his own mind. This is essentially man being his own god. Man being his own god is what existentialism is all about.

The nausea, which is the title of Sartre's book "Nausea" is freedom. Existentialism means that man is totally free to create his own purpose and his own independence. Man is totally free and that very freedom is a burden on man. The phrase "condemned to be free" is a phrase used by existentialists. They say that this existential total freedom is nauseating.

This is in contrast to the Christian view of freedom in which every human being has an essence, in other words a purpose, given by God for our lives. We are created in God's image and we each have a God-given purpose to serve God and bless people during our lifetimes on this earth. Then for all eternity we continue to serve God, know God and enjoy Him forever. We exercise our freedom within the confines of God's Will and God's law. In other words our freedom is not unlimited. Yet we are free to serve God and to serve others and to love others. We have a future that lasts to eternity.

In Sartre's other famous work, "Being and Nothingness" Sartre made the famous statement "man is a useless passion." This encapsulates the the futility and absurdity of the radical existentialism of Sartre. Sartre is a man who has led multitudes of people astray into the false belief that life is meaningless.

Respected historian Paul Johnson is a strong critic of Sartre. Johnson goes so far as to say that the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia were essentially a group of intellectuals who were followers of Sartre and embraced his radical existentialism and applied it to Marxist governmental political philosophy. They led a Marxist revolution in Cambodia that led to the deaths of about a quarter of the total population of that country. Ideas have consequences. (Wikipedia)

Towards the end of his life Sartre embraced anarchism in which he called for the abolition of the state. He regarded governments as absurd, unnecessary and oppressive. He was a notorious chainsmoker who ultimately died of lung cancer. He was nearly blind at that time. He was morally and philosophically blind as well. 

Atheist existentialism is the dominant religion of the ruling classes of western civilization today. Out of it flows all aspects of the culture of death which is killing children in the womb (abortion), killing the elderly (euthanasia), drug abuse, sodomy, rebellion, lawlessness and suicide.

Existentialism is a form of postmodernism. Postmodern philosophy really came of age and went mainstream in the 1960s yet fewer than one in ten people can succinctly explain what postmodernism actually is.  Postmodernism, as its name suggests, is that which comes after modernism. Modernism came out of the  Enlightenment " age of reason" of the 18th century. Postmodernism is an emotional rebellion against modern reason, rationality and order. Postmodernism, when you boil it all down, is moral relativism.
 
Moral relativism is the idea that each person makes up his or her own morals and no moral code is better than any other moral code. In contrast to that is the biblical Judeo-Christian worldview which is that morals are given to us by God in the Bible and include the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. Christian morals are not relative but apply equally to all people in all cultures at all times. God's standards do not change.
 
 A worldview must answer each of four questions:
 
1) Origin: Where do I come from? Do I come from random collisions of atoms on the prebiotic earth or was I brought into being by an intelligent Creator who designed and built the universe?
 
2) Meaning of Life: What is the purpose of my existence? What am I here on earth to accomplish? Does my life have any real value?
 
3) Morality: Is there right and wrong? Does it matter what I do to hurt or help? Is there a difference between kindness and cruelty? Is there a transcendent lawgiver and judge?
 
4) Destiny: Where will I be in the future when my brief life on this earth is over? Will I descend into the void? Will I dissolve into spinning atoms? Will I be conscious and happy or will I be conscious and miserable?
 
The dominant worldview of the ruling classes of western civilization is the postmodernist materialistic worldview. This worldview claims: 1) humans evolved from animals and have no souls, 2)  humans have no real purpose for living other than self-gratification, 3) there is no transcendent moral lawgiver or any objective standard of right and wrong or absolute truth, 4) human consciousness ends at death and therefore there is no future for any human being.

The philosophies of Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus can be summed up as simply meaninglessness. They contributed to the philosophy of nihilism which means nothingness. Many people have followed them and embraced this purposelessness and have ultimately come to the end of themselves. Many of these people have seen the error of their ways and have begun to look to God.

The Bible teaches that God created human beings in his own image and that He has given us a purpose and that purpose is to love God and to enjoy him forever (Westminster Catechism). We are born into this world with a purpose and that purpose lasts into all eternity.

God has given us moral laws by which we must conduct our lives. Yet the Bible plainly teaches that we cannot earn salvation by keeping moral laws. The sinfulness of human beings is such that all of us fall short of God's holiness. The Bible says that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

God in his great love for us has sent his son Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, to die in our place and redeem us from our sins. By His death and suffering in our place, Jesus took the penalty of our sins, upon Himself, so that we can receive forgiveness of sins. This is called substitutionary atonement. Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 prophecies that gave details about his life, ministry, suffering and death.

The prophecies also foretold that Christ would rise from the dead. Christ offers salvation to all who turn to Him in repentance and ask for forgiveness on the basis of His death and resurrection on our behalf. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)

1Believe that God loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2Believe that Jesus Christ came to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
3Repent of your sins and call on Jesus Christ to ask for forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
4Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
5Follow Jesus Christ as Lord and be baptized (John 14:15, Acts 2:38).

Prayer to receive salvation:

To receive the salvation which Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: 

"Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I'm a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask you to forgive me on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen." 

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart, then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA 

(C) 2020 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback! 
Info and ordering link available at our website:
 www.bnugent.org
Back issues of Defending the Faith archived on our website. <>{

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DEFENDING THE FAITH #350
 
The Extreme Complexity of Photosynthesis
and the Failed
Attempts to Duplicate it
 
by Bill Nugent
 

We've all seen them as we've driven down the road. We look to the right and we see acres of solar panels. They're called solar farms. Solar energy has been around since the 1950s. Brilliant teams of scientists and engineers have tried to improve solar energy technology but even after all these years it's still barely competitive with fossil fuels. 

Scientists have been able to capture solar energy to make electricity. Photosynthesis is the ability of plants to transform solar energy to chemical energy. This is far more complex.

In this article I want to talk about a miracle. I want to talk about the miracle of microscopic solar energy panels. Every green leaf and even some single-celled organisms, such as cyanobacteria, have solar energy structures. For more than a century, scientists have desired to duplicate a plant's ability to convert light energy into chemical energy. It would solve humanity's food and energy needs. Man's many failed attempts to build a practical artificial photosynthesis apparatus gives indisputable proof that only the creator could design and build the photosynthesis we see in plants.

You remember from biology class that light comes into a cell, it's absorbed by the chlorophyll and the light energy breaks down a water molecule. The breakdown of the water molecule releases oxygen which is excreted from the cell and that becomes the oxygen that we breathe. The cells uses the hydrogen from the water molecule and the carbon from carbon dioxide to build carbohydrate which is a very familiar term to all of us because that's the major component of the food we eat.

Make no mistake, photosynthesis is an immensely complex chemical step by step process that man in all his brilliance has not been able to fully duplicate despite decades of prodigious effort. God invented solar energy panels when he created green plants and cyanobacteria.

If you open any biology textbook from any secular elementary School you'll read about the baseless claim that photosynthesis evolved very early on planet earth. What is implied by this is that photosynthesis molecules and structures could form by accident, by the random churning of atoms in the primordial ooze of the early earth. 

They make it sound so simple. Photosynthesis occurs in the microscopic chloroplasts of green leaves. Single-celled cyanobacteria, which are far smaller than green leaves, have photosynthesis mesosomes in their cellular structure.

The microscopic solar energy farm in a cyanobacteria uses chlorophyll which is a very large, complex molecule. I invite you to do an internet search of biosynthesis of chlorophyll. You'll be amazed by the complexity and number of the biological steps it takes for just the chlorophyll molecule to be formed in the cells of green plants and bacteria.

I read in one source that it takes 15 steps involving dozens of enzymes just to produce the chlorophyll molecule in a cyanobacterium. Evolutionists consider cyanobacteria to be "simple" single-celled organisms. The chlorophyll they utilize is called bacteriochlorophyll. (See: "Action Spectra of Chlorophyll a Biosynthesis in Cyanobacteria," Yang et al. Tsingshua U. Beijing PRC, 2008.)

Chlorophyll is just one factor in photosynthesis. To say that such a complex chain of chemical steps could happen by chance is absurd. All of the enzymes utilized to produce chlorophyll are themselves complex molecules. For all of these complex molecules involved in the many steps to synthesize chlorophyll to form by chance, by random churning of atoms, is of such small probability that it would never happen, even in a trillion years.

"And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass . . . " (Genesis 1:11).

It comes down to what famed microbiologist Dr Michael Behe calls irreducible complexity. Irreducible complexity means that the entire photosynthesis apparatus must form all at once or not at all to be useful to the organism. This is true of even the simplest cyanobacteria and also true of the complex chloroplast structures of green plants. If there is just a partial formation of photosynthesis it is totally useless to the cyanobacteria or the leaf.

I mentioned that it takes 15 steps to form chlorophyll in bacteria. What if by some random happenstance one or two of these steps forms by random churning of atoms? That partial formation of chlorophyll would be useless because it would not form chlorophyll and would not convert light energy into chemical energy.

Dr. Behe's concept of irreducible complexity is just one of many concepts that totally refute Darwinian evolution. Dr. Behe, in his book Darwin's Black Box defines and discusses irreducible complexity. All of the individual parts would have to form all at once and then they would have to be assembled to be something useful in the cell or leaf. There's no conceivable step by step Darwinian process for photosynthesis to form randomly by processes unguided by intelligence. There had to be an intelligent designer of photosynthesis. There had to be an intelligent designer of all structures of living cells and organisms.

I'm sure you've heard or read that there are many attempts by scientists to create artificial photosynthesis. Scientists have attempted to build a practical machine with the ability to take light energy and convert it into chemical energy. 

If scientists are able to develop artificial photosynthesis they could use that to produce carbohydrate food. Actually most of them are trying to develop photosynthesis in order to produce energy to use as fuel to run engines and to compete with, and ultimately replace, fossil fuels. Literally hundreds of thousands of laboratory hours have gone into trying to produce artificial photosynthesis.

An article titled Artificial Photosynthesis from Science Direct, published in 2019, discusses artificial photosynthesis. It's available on Science Direct's website and it discusses the extreme measures that scientists have gone through to develop it. Here's a quote from this article "Artificial photosynthesis, which is described as 'Chemistry's Greatest Challenge,' attempts to replicate the natural processes of photosynthesis, and, at least in the near future, the goal of artificial photosynthesis is to use sunlight energy to make high-energy chemicals to store energy. A challenge in artificial photosynthesis is to use cheap environmentally friendly compounds. Many components currently proposed for use in artificial photosynthetic systems are expensive, toxic, inefficient or non-durable."

The article describes the extreme difficulty that teams of scientists and engineers have had to produce even a basic photosynthesis system that can produce fuel. Yet proponents of evolution expect us to believe that the microscopic photosynthesis structures in cyanobacteria or leaves can form by accident over long periods of time.

Microbiologist Harold Morowitz has done a probability analysis on the probability of random formation of a single living cell. The probability would be so vanishingly small that, given Morowitz's numbers, a cell would not randomly form by any conceivable step by step process in a trillion years even if all the universe was composed of primordial ooze. It simply would not happen.(See booklet Creation Versus Evolution by Ralph O. Muncaster p. 21.)

The take away from all of this is to show that photosynthesis was designed and built by God and that it is evidence for the existence of God. Many scientists are coming around to the same conclusion and they are becoming proponents of the Intelligent Design Movement. These scientists hesitate to call themselves creationists because they would immediately be accused of being driven by religious motives and their scientific credentials would be insulted by their atheist evolutionist colleagues.

Many scientists who believe in intelligent design and have jettisoned the Darwinian evolutionist hypothesis have gone so far as to publicly sign a statement online at the website dissentfromdarwin.org that states that they are skeptical of darwinian evolution as a theory that could account for the complexity of life.

Many scientists are taking a new look at Christianity.

God provided for forgiveness of sins by sending Jesus Christ who came in fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament prophecies. The biblical prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the penalty we deserved for our sins. This is called substitutionary atonement. One Old Testament prophet wrote of Christ:"He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5 NASB). After He paid the penalty for our sins, Christ was raised from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who call upon Him. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)

1Believe that God loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2Believe that Jesus Christ came to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
3Repent of your sins and call on Jesus Christ to ask for forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
4Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
5Follow Jesus Christ as Lord and be baptized (John 14:15, Acts 2:38).

Prayer to receive salvation:

To receive the salvation which Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: 

"Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I'm a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask you to forgive me on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen." 

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart, then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA 

(C) 2020 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback! 
Info and ordering link available at our website:
 www.bnugent.org
Back issues of Defending the Faith archived on our website. <>{

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