Wish I’d been there for this event.
HT: Reasonable Faith
Wish I’d been there for this event.
HT: Reasonable Faith
Poll results consistently show that approximately three-quarters of American adults believe in God, with some polls reporting more than 90 percent belief. Given such a strong majority, what is the value of studying arguments for the existence of God? Far fewer people believe that Jesus is the only way, or that the Resurrection was an actual, historical event. Why not concentrate on apologetic arguments targeted at religious pluralism or historical evidence for the Resurrection?
Simply this. There are powerful arguments for the existence of God, and the value of learning these arguments is not limited to being able to defend theism against the minority of adults who believe atheism is true. Studying these arguments can produce strong reinforcement of the Christian faith, and a much deeper appreciation for the nature, power, and character of God.
A more insightful question might be, “Why are there so many Christians who have never heard or considered the classical arguments for the existence of God?” Continue reading
For those attending or following our personal discipleship class, here are the slides from this week’s session on apologetic reasoning.
The slides contain hyperlinks to videos and related material. In terms of resources, the most useful item might be the link to the 2015 Veracity’s Top 10 Scorers List. If you want a good grounding in apologetics, study these apologists, professors, theologians, philosophers, and authors.
It’s time again for that most prized of all personal discipleship honors, Veracity’s Top 10 Scorer Awards. (I know, I know…I can hardly stand the excitement either!)
There are lots of great resources for personal discipleship on the web and in bookstores, but these are the sources Clarke and I cite most frequently, and for good reason. They are the players who consistently “put the puck in the net.” No skating around the issues—just on-target discipleship. We listen to their podcasts, read their books, watch their debates, and benefit greatly from their teaching and personal examples. We don’t agree with everything each of them says or believes, and they wouldn’t want us to. But we are blessed by having studied them. They are, in our opinion, among the most influential proponents of the Christian faith today.
This year’s list includes pastors, philosophers, professors, theologians, apologists, an astrophysicist, several world-class scholars, some exceptionally gifted teachers, and a cop. (As in the past there are more than 10 winners on our Top 10 Scorers list because they all deserve the award.) Continue reading
Have you ever been blindsided by a hostile comment about your faith? For whatever reasons, someone has a chip on their shoulder about Christians. Maybe you weren’t even talking about anything spiritual, and they let go a pejorative that hits you like ice water in the face. If they’re angry and intelligent, you might hear a diatribe that is well articulated and seems to challenge your Christian worldview in a really disturbing way.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, welcome to the real world. Skepticism is nothing new.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11,12 (NKJV)
Being on the receiving end of mocking and ridicule is bad enough, but how do you respond to the underlying challenge?
Personal discipleship is more than a process—it’s a lane to drive in when your faith is challenged. One of the (many) reasons that ice water in the face feels so cold is that we are poorly prepared to graciously address the underlying objections. Not just poorly prepared in terms of having a pithy response, but poorly prepared to engage in a manner that is gentle and respectful. Bobby Conway says the purpose of apologetics is to remove barriers to the Christian faith. Apologetics is not about winning arguments. Got it. But we have little chance of presenting Christ in a favorable light if we don’t know where people are coming from—emotionally and intellectually.
Dr. Norman Geisler gave an interview to Apologetics315 in which he made some statements that get at the heart of the matter. Geisler is a prolific author, systematic theologian, philosopher, and professor. He has founded two evangelical seminaries and was the chief architect behind the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. He is a standard-bearer for conservative Christian doctrine.
“I learned a lot from all skeptics. I tell my students that I spend most of my time studying and teaching what I don’t believe, namely the history of philosophy, and I’m writing a book on it now, The History of Philosophy From a Christian Point of View. You have to have a knowledge of what’s going on, that’s the bread and butter, that’s the standing on the shoulders of giants. As someone said, ‘You can learn more from the error of a great mind than you can the truths of a small mind.’ Because, the error of a great mind is a significant error, and you learn a lot from significant errors. Furthermore, I would encourage reading atheists because when I see the fallacies, the flimsy grounds upon which they base their belief, it encourages me in my own faith. So, I don’t read Streams in the Desert, or Daily Bread for devotion, I read atheists. Because they’re encouraging Nietzsche, and Freud, and Fromm, and Feuerbach, and Schopenhauer, and all the great atheists. Because as I read them, I strengthen my own faith, I see how to answer the fallacies in their writings, and I’m able to do what the Bible tells me—to destroy arguments and every proud obstacle against the knowledge of God and bring every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).”