Welcome back, everyone. Today is Wednesday, February the 14th. I'm Ryan Hill.
I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at ClearviewTodayShow.com, or if you have a question for Dr. Shah or a suggestion for a future question, make sure you let us know by sending us a text at 252-582-5028. You can also email us at contact at ClearviewTodayShow.com. Some people are email people, so I want to give that option.
That's right. I just got a little bit excited. I jumped the gun. We're just excited to have you guys here because you all can help us keep the conversation going. You can support this podcast. You can share it online.
You can leave us a good review on iTunes, Spotify, anywhere that you get your podcast from, and we're going to leave you a link right below this one so you can help us do that. We want you to leave those reviews. Positive reviews only. I don't like reading the negative reviews.
They make me feel bad about myself. I'm wearing my Awana shirt. Can I say something that I say in Awana?
It encourages you when people build you up and leave you good reviews, so we want to make sure you're doing the same for other people. That's right, Mom. All right, ready? Not just joking. That got dark. I'm just joking. Go ahead.
Hit them with the person today. Oh, man. All right.
Well, segue out of that. The verse of the day today comes from Nehemiah chapter 1, verse 11. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name. And let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. This is when Nehemiah was about to go before the king.
We've all been there in that position where we have to go ask somebody in authority for something that's going to be really inconvenient for them. I know this is kind of a problem, but I have to do this because God is calling me to do this, and it demonstrates what a man of faith Nehemiah was. Since coming to Clearview, I think the first sermon series I ever heard Dr. Shah preach was on Nehemiah. And since coming to Clearview, Nehemiah has become one of my favorite biblical examples of faith. It is a phenomenal book. If you haven't ever read the story of Nehemiah, I would encourage you to do that. And the thing that gets me about this, it reminds me of a message that I heard Dr. Shah preach one time about asking for favor in the eyes of God and of man. And that was something that was so contrary to me, because I had never thought about what if other people just don't like you.
But God gives us favor, not only in His sight, but in the sight of others, to help us be successful and help us to be a good influence in the world in which we live. Yeah, absolutely. I want to do something. I want to bring back the gripe vine. I'm going to just gripe about something that really, really irritates me. And that is hiccups. People who hiccups.
I cannot stand hiccups. It's just constant. Imagine, if you will, that you're strapped to a plank and you're blindfolded, and they just take some water, just a little drop of water, and they just drop it right in the same spot. And they do that for about 48 hours.
Same spot. Until it just drives you crazy. That's what hiccups are like. That's what hiccups are like. I've never thought about hiccups from the perspective of the person who doesn't have hiccups. Because, I mean, I get hiccups sometimes, and they're annoying. I mean, it's frustrating because you do everything you can to get rid of them.
Hold your breath, drink water, you know, whatever. But I never thought about it from, like, everyone else. Yeah, I'm annoying the people around me.
I mean, it's crazy. I don't ever get hiccups, which is weird. You've never had hiccups? No, I have had them. I just don't get them now. I haven't had them in years. I was about to say, what kind of what? I had them, like, as a kid.
I don't know what would cause them, but I don't really get them. Now, finally, if I eat something too fast, I'll get, like, one. Like, oh, golly.
I'll just get one. What I don't like is that Ellie, and a lot of times little kids, but especially Ellie, will get hiccups and just be like, okay, I just have hiccups. Like, I'm like, do you want to hold your breath? Do you want a drink of water? Do you want to get a spoonful of sugar? Do you want peanut butter? Do you want something? Just exist with them.
Let me ask you this. Babe. Just exist and suffer. Yeah, she's like, I'll just have hiccups until they just go away. I'm like, that's annoying, babe.
Go get something. If the person is actively trying to counteract the hiccups, are you still annoyed? Or are you like, it's annoying, but they're at least trying to make an effort. Yeah, I'm annoyed, but I don't really have the right to say anything. They're trying. They're trying.
Okay. What annoys me, really, this is griping about Ellie, because. I thought we weren't going to keep it hard to be. Well, it's not only Ellie, because my sons do it too, but they can't. Yeah, they're little. It annoys me when the little baby, when he gets home, I'm like, okay, that's kind of cute.
But when Ellie gets home, she'll just be sitting there, I don't mean like seven o'clock, eight o'clock, nine o'clock, here it is, 10 o'clock. We've had hiccups for four hours and we're not doing anything. Aren't you annoyed? I'm like, aren't you annoyed?
Are they annoyed at you? She's like, yes. I'm like, drink of water.
Hold your breath. She's like, no. Okay. It's like the same thing where women will be like, oh, I'm really cold.
It's like, why don't you get up and turn the fan off? No. Would you like a blanket, a jacket? No, I'm good. Okay. Okay. Anyway, that's my gripe line, hiccups. If you've got hiccups, try to get rid of them. At least make an effort. Make an effort. Right. That you annoy the people around you. Have you ever tried the drink like backwards from the cup?
No. There's, there's something to where you're like, if you drink water upside down, you are supposed to be able to get. I've never been able to do that successfully. I don't know if any of the drinks work because I would always hold my breath, but it has nothing to do with breath.
It's just a muscle spasm. So I don't know that really any of the tricks would work. No, I don't know.
Oh well. If you have some hiccup relieving tips and tricks, text in to 252-582-5028. We'll make sure Jon takes them home. Or you can just text my wife at 919-495058. No, no, no. Ellie's phone blew us up. Get rid of your hiccups.
Maybe you shouldn't do that. We've got an exciting show planned for you guys today. If you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, keep sending those into 252-582-5028.
Or you can always visit us online at clearviewtodayshow.com. We're going to get Dr. Shah and we'll be back after this. Hey there, listeners. I'm Jon Galantis.
And I'm Ellie Galantis. And we just want to take a quick second and talk to you about Dr. Shah's and Nicole's book, 30 Days to a New Beginning. Daily devotions to help you move forward.
You know, this is actually the second book in the 30 days series. And the whole point of this devotional is to help us get unstuck from the ruts of life. You know, when it comes to running the race of life, it matters how you start, but a bad start doesn't ultimately determine how you finish the race. You can have a good finish even with a bad start. And that's where this book comes in. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck.
Instead of going out and buying some gadget or some planner, like I know I've done several times. I know that's right. 30 Days encourages you to find your fresh start in God's word. Life doesn't have a reset button, but our God is a God who does new things. His mercies are new every day.
Which means every day is a new chance for you to start over. You can grab 30 Days to a New Beginning on Amazon.com. We're going to leave a link in the description box below. And if you already have the book, let us know what you think about it.
That's right. Send us a text 252-582-5028. Share what God has done in your life through this devotional. Hey, maybe we'll even read your story on the air. Ellie, you ready to get back to the show?
Let's do it. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadan Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com.
If you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, make sure you send us a text 252-582-5028. Dr. Shah, it is Wednesday. It is Wednesday, my dudes. You know what that means? It's Contends Day Wednesday.
That's right. Before you explain what Contends Day is... Sorry, I got excited. No, listen, I'm excited too. I'm going to go ahead and just welcome in all the new people because some of you guys, this might be your first time ever listening to the show. We want to welcome you, let you know who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadan Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor and the host of today's episode.
You can find his work on his website. That's AbbadanShah.com. That's right. If you're new here, you might be asking, what is Contends Day Wednesday? Well, I'm glad that you asked. Let me explain it for you. On Wednesdays, we are going through an emphasis on apologetics. I'm so sorry that I'm a Christian. I'm sorry for what I believe.
It's not an apology. It's giving a defense of our faith, being able to answer questions about what we believe about the Bible, about God, and do it in a way that is winsome, not in a way that's combative. I can agree with that more, especially now. We're living in a time where almost every month you hear about some Christian celebrity, not celebrity, I would say, Christian pastor's son or daughter, or even a theology professor who walks away from the faith.
Here's a question. Is that really true? These people who have recently come out in the past, am I right on that? Have you all heard that?
Oh, absolutely. It's become very trendy, very popular to say things like, I left or got out of the church. I'm deconstructing my religious background. I'm an ex-vangelical.
I've heard that term more and more. I used to believe this, but now I'm an ex-vangelical. Let me share with you what I've learned because they present themselves as having almost this sage-like wisdom. Former seminary friends of mine who have done this recently, some have walked away from the faith.
Some have, not walked away, but they have come up with a whole different kind of Christianity, which shocks me because it's like, what are you talking about? That's not you. That's not what you believe. But no, now they believe in their, they kind of almost have this condescending tone towards you who are still wrapped up in this system. Maybe it's because I get paid to do this.
So you're not going to leave the establishment because hey, you have a cushy job. But the rest of us, we picked up our cross and we walked out. That's how they look at us. Yeah. That's what I was going to say. It's not even just presented as a valid option. It's the morally high, it's the moral high ground. It's the superior option.
Yeah. It's the more free thinking option. And I guess it leads to that question, like, why do some people do that? Why do people not only walk away from the faith, but just reject outright? And why do some accept truly?
Right. So that is a real question, right? What makes a person decide if they want to receive the gospel? And often it's believed that salvation is a mystery, right? And I agree to some extent, yes, God draws people by His grace, opens their eyes to the truth. It is truly a miracle.
Okay. People talk about miracle as in somebody getting healed or somebody coming back from the dead. But I believe the conversion of a person dead in trespasses and sins to be born again into life everlasting is a miracle, is the greatest miracle of all. Having said that, we can still study the whole phenomenon of salvation, right?
Not for a single iota of a minute, you know, iota? A single inkling of a minute ever tried to diminish God's supernatural work. But lately there has been some research done in the field, especially from probability and decision theory that helps you understand what is going on — how do people believe? Some believe and some don't. So if we understand this a little better, maybe we can understand why some people leave their faith, so-called leave their faith, and some don't. I like the way that you put that, that just because it is a supernatural event doesn't mean that there aren't observable factors that we can study. And like, it doesn't make this any more or any less supernatural or any less miraculous just because we can study and understand.
That's right. Now this may be a little confusing for some of our listeners and viewers, so just bear with us, okay? Maybe go back and listen to it again. Maybe go back and listen to the sermon or look at the notes I have on my blog site. We'll link to that in the show notes.
That'd be great. So if you're a student of mathematics, you know how what I'm talking about when I talk about this probability and decision theory is kind of a technical area. Lately they utilize Pascal's Wager in calling people to believe in God. Now, who was Pascal? He was a scientist. He was a mathematician. He was a philosopher, an inventor, a Catholic theologian who lived in the 17th century. He was a brilliant man, a Frenchman, and kind of frail of health and died quite early.
He died like 10 years younger than me, 39. But he made a statement, and here's that restatement of that statement, okay, of Wager. He said, we cannot come to the knowledge of God's existence through reason alone. It's wise to live as if God does exist because such a life has everything to gain and nothing to lose. If we live as God exists, and He does indeed exist, we have gained heaven. If He doesn't exist, we have lost nothing. To the contrary, if we live as though God does not exist, and He really does exist, we have gained hell and punishment and have lost heaven. A rational person should live as though the Christian God exists and seek to believe in Him. Bottom line is, this is what Pascal was saying.
It is rational to believe in God, even with incomplete evidence. Not only are we kind of going deep here, but stay with us. And some people have come along and they have criticized this Wager through the centuries and on and on. But recently a Swedish mathematician by the name of Ola Hoscher.
I hope I'm pronouncing it correctly. I don't know. But he is a professor at Stockholm University, Sweden. What he did was he took the Wager model and extended it so that the decision to become a Christian has three main ingredients. Number one, prior belief, which is a priori. Second evidence, which is a posteriori. And then third is the will.
And he uses Bayes' rule or Bayes' theorem to understand the probability of decisions. So I'm going to go deep again. So I hope you guys stay with me. I'm with you.
It goes like this. Our degree of belief in Christianity is the result of an inborn tendency to relate to God and the evidence we encounter in life. Let me repeat that again. We're talking about Bayes' theorem to understand the probability of decisions. Our degree of belief in Christianity is the result of an inborn tendency to relate to God and the evidence we encounter in life. By the way, Bayes, Thomas Bayes was an 18th century statistician, philosopher, and a nonconformist Presbyterian minister. Brilliant guy. He came up with this theorem actually to counter David Hume. You heard of the name David Hume?
Deist, right? English philosopher, skeptic, deist. And David Hume claimed that the probability of people inaccurately claiming that they'd seen Jesus' resurrection far outweigh the probability that the event had occurred in the first place. I mean, the bottom line is that David Hume didn't believe in miracles. But Bayes, Thomas Bayes, gave this to counteract that.
Right, right, right. Another man, scholar by the name of Jordana Kepilovich, summarized Bayes' simple explanation this way. He said, consider a ball thrown onto a flat table behind your back. You can make a guess as to where it landed, but there's no way to know for certain how accurate you were, at least not without looking. Then he says, have a colleague throw another ball onto the table and tell you whether it landed to the right or left of the first ball. If it landed to the right, for example, the first ball is more likely to be on the left side of the table. Such an assumption leaves more space to the ball's right for the second ball to land. I know it sounds confusing, but it's just a way of inch by inch, toss by toss, knowing exactly what you're trying to do. You're gathering data and then you're putting it into probability where it most likely is. Right. And then Kepilovich goes on to say, with each new ball your colleague throws, you can update your guess to better model the location of the original ball.
You get the point? With each one, you're kind of knowing, okay, this is where the original one landed based on what this guy tells me when he tosses the ball. In a similar fashion, Bayes thought the various testimonials to Christ's resurrection suggested the event couldn't be discounted the way Hume asserted. So Hume is talking about, you know, the resurrection didn't happen.
The likelihood of that is very low. He said, no, let's just use this probability and decision theory and see if people's reports can be lined up in such a way that you can say, yeah, this thing did happen. I don't want to take us off topic because I know we're talking about salvation here specifically, but that sort of sounds like your work with textual manuscripts. Like you're taking all of these copies and the more manuscripts that you look at, the more you see that they sort of line together. So you're like, this is more than likely what the original text says.
Of course I can't get the autographs, but look at all these manuscripts and there are different variations. We can pretty much ascertain what's going on. We can say without doubt that this is what the original is. So we're not left like a canoe downstream without a paddle.
Like, well, you're going over the falls. This is it. No, I think we have enough knowledge and understanding of mathematics and probability and decision theory to say something did happen, guys. So when he talks about that inborn conception, is that the same thing as the prior belief? Is that what the prior belief means? Yeah, that's the prior belief. Right.
Right. And we'll examine that in just a few moments. By the way, just to let people know, those who may not realize this, according to Keplevich, Bayes' Theorem has been used to decode the German Enigma cipher, helped the United States Navy locate the Soviet subs, enabled statisticians to determine the authorship of the Federalist papers, and even unlocked the secrets of the brain. So this Bayes' Theorem is not just like, ah, some 17th century old Scottish guy up in the castle somewhere. Yeah, he's a mathematician that we're still using. Pontificating up in the towers, you know.
Yeah, it's like he's just too much fog up there. No, this guy knew what he was doing and knew it so well that in the 24th century we have used his theorem to figure out some of these things. So don't just discard it that quickly. So now, what Jon was saying earlier, let's look at those three main ingredients. We said three things, right? Prior belief, evidence, and will. Prior belief, which is a priori, before experience, we're talking about the inborn conception of God, means the desire to call on God and worship someone or something which is deep within us. That's part of the prior belief. Also in the same category is the inborn conception of first cause, which means the understanding that everything has a beginning or cause.
I hope this is making sense because this is not just for salvation. This answers a lot of questions what we believe about creation and all that stuff, okay? But under prior belief is also the inborn desire for meaning, which is the desire to do or be something, and the inborn desire for love.
We all want to love. So under prior belief, the before experience belief, there is the inborn conception of God. We know that there is a God and we want to call upon him and worship him. Inborn conception of first cause, the fact that we believe that the understanding that everything has a beginning or cause, things don't just happen, there's a cause to them. Inborn desire for meaning, the desire to be or do something, and the inborn desire for love, which is that we all want to love.
Each of these, listen very carefully mom and dads, church leaders, each of these can be encouraged or discouraged in a person, especially during the early years. Ooh, I hope somebody wrote that down. You get what I'm saying? Yeah. Yeah.
You can speak life into this or you can quench it pretty early on. Right. And I think that's why we place, or that's why you guys especially have placed so much emphasis on the children's ministries and the youth ministries here. And I know you, Dr. Shaw, that's something that's always been on your heart is because children are way more than just the future of the church. They are the future of the church, but they're also the here and now and they're affecting us and the way that we raise them. Right. So here's a word of hope for those families that are struggling. If your children are not where they need to be, remember scripture, train up the child in the way they should go and when they're old, they will not depart from it. That's right.
Okay. And don't buy the garbage about train up the child in their way or all that stuff that somebody tweaked for some weird reason, because I don't know. Anyways, it is exactly what it says.
If you raise your kids in the right direction, they may lose their way, but they're coming back. This is part of the prior belief. This is part of the a priori before experience category. Then there is the evidence. We talked about this in the opening.
This is a posteriori or after experience. Here we're talking about the historical cultural issues like creativity and culture, misconduct of Christians, church history, religion and wars and other religions. I mean, this is things you learn in life, not just how you were raised. This is things you're learning. Moral and ethical issues, talking about the moral law, the presence of evil.
Why do bad things happen to good people? All that kind of stuff. Scientific evidence. We're talking about the design of creation, Bible and natural science, cause and effect, those kind of things. Then there's also the theological and philosophical evidence. We're talking about the fall of man, the judgment and hell, truthfulness of the Bible, theodicy, Israel, all of that falls under theological and philosophical evidence. We're not done yet. Here's the last one. And personal evidence, which is pain, suffering, miracles, personal testimonies.
So when we hear about people, oh man, this is so good. When we hear about people renouncing their faith, one of these evidences is weak or faulty in their lives. And by the way, for any of you out there, listen to this and say, ah, that's not true.
That's just not true. I'm sorry. You may be lying. Yeah.
Yeah. You probably are lying to yourself because there's something in one of those, whether it's theological or philosophical or personal, something has driven you away and it's because your understanding was weak or faulty. Maybe it was abuse. And I'm so sorry that happened to you. Maybe it was an abuse by somebody you trusted, somebody you looked up to.
Sorry that happened to you. But that still does not negate the fact that what the gospel is saying, what the Bible claims is the truth. But that's the point of these Wednesday episodes is to help that understanding, not, not just to prove you wrong, but to help your understanding flourish and grow and to get you back on the track that God wants you to be on. And to help you frame that conversation for loved ones in your life. Maybe you have kids or grandkids who are walking down this road. You can be the one that kind of brings this evidence back to life for them, that strengthens it and brings them back on track. So if they've gone through abuse, don't just sweep it under the rug or don't just like pretend it didn't happen in a godly way, in a grace filled way, in a truthful way, address it. That's right. But also thank God for it, because it could be that God allowed it for a reason to not only strengthen and mature you, but help you to help somebody else one day.
Right? But if that evidence is weak, that person may struggle later on in life. And then the third one, just the will, is that just really kind of as simple as it sounds?
Well, let's look at it this way. The combination of prior belief and evidence, which is a priori and a posteriori, when they come together, prior belief and evidence come together, they lead to rational belief. And based on the individual, it depends on which one will be more important than others. So it'll be prior belief, just how, you know, we're inborn nature to love God, to obey him, to follow him, you know, first cause in a desire for meaning in born desire for love.
But that's very strong. Or maybe it is the evidence like historical or cultural, the moral, the ethical, the theological, the philosophical, the personal, your pain and suffering and, you know, how people came and helped you and, and instead of allowing you to drift away or be bruised and hurt by the world or church or whatever that brought you back in. We don't know which one will be stronger in your life, but when they both come together, they lead to rational belief.
And here's the will, there's a third category. Some people just need a little rational belief and they go over the edge and believe Christ. Hmm. Some only need some rational belief. Okay. Yeah, I get it.
That's what it is. That person was wrong. Even though they came to be a Christian, they were not right. Because that's what sin does.
People play the hypocrites. I can't blame God for that. I can't deny Christ for that. Okay. Some, for some, strong rational belief is not enough, which means I don't get it. I'm struggling with this because, you know, I've taken this creation, this biology class and I'm really having trouble because I just don't think how God could make all this and how is it possible? Okay.
They need some strong evidence. Nonetheless, you know, when these three things come together in the right proportion of the right way and parents, you can do only the best you can, but if you do the best you can, God will take care of the rest. Amen.
What a comfort. And I hope these Wednesday episodes are going to help you in that direction. If you enjoyed today's topic, you have suggestions for future episodes, make sure you let us know by sending us a text to 252-582-5028. You can also visit us online at cleaviewtodayshow.com and you can support us financially on that same website. Just click that donate button right there. We're so thankful for all of you who have given all those who continue to support us financially and partner with us as we seek to impact the nations for the gospel of Jesus.
I have a text that came through that I'd like to read if that's okay. Someone who has been listening to the show, it's actually, if you've been listening to the show for a little while, you remember that there were a couple episodes ago where we stopped and prayed for a listener who was going through a tough time, just spent some time praying on the episode. That listener heard that episode, was very thankful, wrote back in and this is that listener's response.
So I've said it many times, but I'll say it again. Y'all are seriously so wonderful and such a God sent to our family. I listened to yesterday's podcast and heard you pray for me. Timing couldn't have been more perfect.
I have one of my appointments today and another one on Thursday. My nerves have been really rattled but I feel peace listening to your prayer. So thank you a million.
And she goes on to describe some more because she and her family actually attend church here as well and just how grateful they are for you, Dr. Shaw, for your preaching, for all the ministries here at Clearview and how thankful they are to have found a church family. You know, I'm grateful for them too. That's a super couple. God has some great things in store for them, their child. I mean, it's beautiful to have people like that. You know, they are, great things are coming their way.
Absolutely. That is so cool. And make sure that you guys, if you have stuff going on that we can pray about for you, we would love to hear from you. Love the opportunity to pray with you and for you. So send those prayer requests to 252-582-5028. We love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clearview Today.
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