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E-mail me at: bible.apologetics[at]yahoo[dot]com.

 

About the Author

I'm a sub-deacon in the Eastern Orthodox Church (consecr. St. George's Day, May 6, 2006). I was born into it, but I became a real, born-again Christian when I was 16 in the summer of 2005. I'd found a small icon of Christ while doing community service at a library earlier that year, and I'd put it on the top of my desk's bookshelf, propped against some books. I came home after school one day and as I lay on my bed looking up at the icon, I said to myself, "Christ was right." The second time I said it, I was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit: in every classic, cliché sense of the phrase you can imagine. Just like how it's described in Acts about Pentecost or anywhere else where the Bible mentions being "filled with the Holy Spirit" (e.g. 1 Sam. 19:23).

When this happened, I felt an overwhelming and irresistible love and love of love. I immediately repented of my sins, not out of compulsion or fear, but out of the beauty and peace of righteousness. Things I'd never known or heard before - repentance - became immediately clear. I was alone when this happened. Neither my parents nor anyone I'd known had ever been religious. I didn't even know what sin was, nor do I remember even having heard the word before. So this was certainly not a subjective experience or one out of some kind of pressure.

The first thing I remember was how much joy it was to be filled with love. I'd tell everyone around me, but of course, nobody could really understand. Naturally, I started reading more of the Bible as well as about it. I formed some kind of (pseudo) logical arguments about the existence of God, which were even less convincing than my personal testimony. One in particular was that the afterlife must exist, and it must be eternal, or else none of us would experience the here and now - or it'd be swallowed up by the infinite oblivion that followed; or else how would 1 moment exist in the middle of an infinitude of non-existence? This is, of course, false since not only do we forget things all the time, but if there followed an "infinitude" of moments instead of oblivion, it's still 1 moment vs infinity; and these paradoxes were resolved by Cantor's Set Theory and the solution to Zeno's paradoxes.

Eventually I dropped that line of reasoning and resorted to a simple analogy. I don't remember exactly what I used, but it was just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. She tries each soup until she finds the right one. She never knew which soup would be good enough, nor did she even know one of them might be "defective": proof of the fact that we only learn from induction. As Kant put it, none of us ever scientifically proved that a piece of bread would feed us: we only assumed it from trusting others and from experience. Most of us don't have any scientific proof that the Sun will rise tomorrow.

Coupled with Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, this means that none of us can truly prove anything. Of what use then is skepticism? Isn't a Boltzmann Brain much more likely than our biological one? Isn't a chaotic universe much more likely? What guarantee do we have that one day the law of gravity won't be false? What if the laws of physics are just temporary; a ticking timer running out? That's what a nucleated false vacuum would do, and we'd never know it until it hit us. Everything could just be part of a dog's dream until it wakes up - it wouldn't be any less possible or real than characters in a dream who believe they're real. Of course, unlike the Greek Skeptics who denied certain knowledge, we must use Cicero's golden mean of the probable. But in the grand scheme of things, belief isn't any more of an assumption than knowledge is.

That was my original idea and apologetics has been more or less just a "side-errand" so I could get back to the soup analogy.