Saturday, December 09, 2017

Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Donald Trump's Christmas Statement Shows How Little He Understands About Christianity

Christian baker vs. the state of Colorado: Most anticipated Supreme Court case begins oral arguments

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique 1  Ravi's statement is here.



Friday, December 08, 2017

East Meets West - Mark Mittelberg


Recently, I read Mark Mittelberg's "expert contribution" from Nabeel Qureshi's best selling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.  It reinforces Qureshi's assessment that generally speaking, Eastern Islamic cultures assess truth through lines of authority as opposed to individual reasoning.  I think this is a very important point to consider when discussing one's faith with someone coming from this background.  

You can also find the contribution on the RZIM website.  

Mark Mittelberg is bestselling author and primary creator of the course Becoming a Contagious Christian, which has trained 1.5 million people worldwide and has been translated into more than twenty languages. He served as evangelism director with the Willow Creek Association for more than a decade.
“It is important for you to know that Allah is the one and only God, and that Muhammad, peace be upon him, was his true prophet. God is not divided, and He does not have a son. And Jesus, peace be upon him, was not the Son of God. He was a true prophet, like Muhammad, and we are to honor him, but we must never worship him. We worship Allah and Allah alone.” These bold words, spoken by the imam—a man dressed in white who stood in front of our group and was clearly in charge of the mosque that day—were communicated in a manner that delivered more than just theological content. They were conveyed with an authority that made clear that the message was something we were expected to accept, rather than test. It was not that the imam wasn’t willing to entertain a few questions. Rather, he apparently saw this as a chance to challenge the thinking of an entire group of Christians at one time. So after a short period of teaching, he opened the floor to whatever issues we wanted to raise. But even then, he responded with an emphatic tone, one that relayed his belief that he had the truth and we were there to learn it.
This assuredness was borne out when I finally raised my own question. I asked the imam why he and other Muslims denied that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross, and that He rose from the dead three days later. As politely as I knew how, I explained that I, and the others from my church who were visiting the mosque that day, believed these things on the basis of the testimonies of Jesus’ own disciples. They were the ones who walked and talked with Him for three years and who heard Him make repeated claims to be the Son of God. They saw Him die on the cross and met, talked with, and even ate with Him after His resurrection. And they were the ones who made sure it was all written down in the New Testament gospels. “What I’m curious about,” I said, concluding my question, “is whether you have any historical or logical reasons why we should accept your Muslim point of view over and against what we understand to be the actual historical record?”
The imam looked at me intently and then declared resolutely, “I choose to believe the prophet!” With that, our time for questions was over. East meets West, indeed! I walked away that day with a fresh awareness that we do not all approach questions about truth in the same way. In fact, years later, I wrote about what I believe is a characteristically Eastern versus a characteristically Western approach to gaining knowledge.3
In the East, and for Islam in particular, what is accepted as true is generally what the authorities tell you—and you are expected to embrace what they teach. That is why I call this approach the Authoritarian Faith Path. In fact, the original meaning of the Arabic word Islam “submission.” It seems fair to say that the prevailing tenor of the Muslim faith is one of submitting to—not questioning—what the religion teaches.

This squares with my friend Nabeel Qureshi’s assessment in this part 2 of his book “People from Eastern Islamic cultures generally assess truth through lines of authority, not individual reasoning. Of course, individuals do engage in critical reasoning in the East, but on average it is relatively less valued and far less prevalent than in the West. Leaders have done the critical reasoning, and leaders know best.” As Nabeel indicates, this contrasts sharply with the more typical approach in the West, which I refer to as the Evidential Faith Path. This approach decides what should be accepted as true based not on the word of authorities but rather on logic and experience, including experiences recorded in trustworthy historical records like the ones I cited in my interactions with the imam. Of course, both sides can have their pitfalls. Westerners in the evidential mindset often need to be reminded to be lovers of truth (2 Thess. 2:10) who are willing to rigorously apply reason and the study of evidence, and then follow them wherever they lead. Too often, people in Western culture fall into an approach that limits possible causes to naturalistic ones, and they won’t even consider supernatural causes. This prejudices the outcome and, in fact, makes scientific and historical inquiry atheistic by definition. But if we can help people reopen their minds to the full gamut of possible explanations, then I’m confident that logic and evidence (along with the inner workings of the Holy Spirit) will lead them back not only to a belief in God but also to the Christian faith.


God Bless,

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Book Preview: Lies Pastors Believe by Dayton Hartman

About the Author

Dayton Hartman is lead pastor at Redeemer Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He has a PhD in church and dogma history from North-West University (South Africa), and serves as an adjunct professor at both Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Columbia International University. He is the author of Church History for Modern Ministry: Why Our Past Matters for Everything We Do (Our review is here).

You can learn more about Pastor Hartman and his ministry here.




About the Book


All of us are tempted to believe lies about ourselves.

For many pastors, the lies we’re tempted to believe have to do with our identity: that God has called us to lead a movement, that we must sacrifice our home life for our ministry life, or that our image as holy is more important than our actual pursuit of holiness.

In Lies Pastors Believe, pastor and professor Dayton Hartman takes aim at these and other lies he has faced in his own ministry and seen other pastors struggle with. With a winsome and engaging style, Hartman shows current and future pastors why these lies are so tempting, the damage they can do, and how they can be resisted by believing and applying the truth of the gospel.

You can get your copy here.

Our review of this work is forthcoming!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Pastor Stephen J. Bedard on Apologetics in the Pulpit

Dayton Hartman on Pastors and Apologetics

Article: Why Pastors Ought to Be Apologists by J. Warner Wallace

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Theologian R.C. Sproul on Christmas

"I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday every year. Keep in mind that the whole principle of annual festival and celebration is deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, for example, there were times when God emphatically commanded the people to remember certain events with annual celebrations. While the New Testament doesn’t require that we celebrate Christmas every year, I certainly see nothing wrong with the church’s entering into this joyous time of celebrating the Incarnation, which is the dividing point of all human history. Originally, it was intended to honor, not Mithras or any of the other mystery religion cults, but the birth of our King."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. R.C. Sproul, "Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?", Dec. 23th, 2016.

Related Posts

Christmas Resources from GotQuestions.org

A Christmas Testimony by Chad Vaughn 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Is Christmas Pagan?

Around this time of year, it is very common to hear the oft-repeated claim that Christmas is a pagan holiday and that Christians ought not celebrate it.  Below, I have assembled resources that address some of the common concerns both Christian and non-Christians have around this time of year.

Articles

Is Christmas Pagan?

Is Christmas Pagan? by Greg Koukl

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday by R.C. Sproul

Is Christmas Purely a Pagan Holiday? by "The John Ankerberg Show"

No, Christmas is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday by Lenny Esposito

Were Christmas and Easter Based on Pagan Myths? by Timothy Paul Jones

5 Questions Every Christian Should Learn to Answer about Christmas by Alisa Childers

The Christian and Christmas: Is Christmas a Christian Holiday? by Hank Hanegraaff

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Christian Research Institute 

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Bible.org

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by John Piper

Problems with the Pagan Origin of Christmas Argument

How December 25 Became Christmas by Andrew McGowan

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by gotQuestions.org 

Do Some Christian Traditions Have Pagan Origins? by gotQuestions.org

4 Christmas Myths We've All Totally Bought by Tyler Huckabee

Christmas: Christian or Pagan Holiday? by Joel Furches

Are Christmas Trees Pagan?

Should We Have a Christmas Tree? by gotQuestions.org

Pagan Christmas Trees and the Burden of Proof by Lenny Esposito

No, Christmas Trees are Not Based on a Pagan Holiday by Lenny Esposito

Why Do We Have Christmas Trees? by Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Should Christians have Christmas Trees? by John MacArthur

Does Jeremiah 10:1-5 show that we should not have a Christmas tree in celebration of Christmas? by bible.org

What Does the Bible Say about Christmas Trees? by Bibleinfo.com

Does Jeremiah 10 forbid Christmas trees? by Matthew Slick

Videos


Is the Christmas Tree a Pagan Symbol? by Bobby Conway

Is Christmas Pagan? by Brett Kunkle

Is Christmas Pagan? by Marie Wood (Funny!)

Is Christmas a Pagan Festival? by Bobby Conway

Inspiring Philosophy - "Christmas is Not Pagan"  Pt. 1 (Scripture)   Pt. 2 (History)

What Should We Do With Christmas?

You can answers to other common questions here.

As for me, in regard to Christians and Christmas, I believe what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:5- "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind" (ESV).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

11 Christmas Books Everyone Should Read

Parents and Santa Claus

I Still Believe in Santa, and God Too

Monday, December 04, 2017

How You Can Reveal the Glory of Christ to Others (and Why You Need To)

In the subject post, Amy Hall of Stand to Reason writes that "the biggest divide between Christians and non-Christians is not whether or not they think Christianity is true but whether or not they think Christianity is beautiful—and specifically, whether or not they think Jesus is beautiful." She also quotes John Piper and writes how this impacts apologetics.

You can read the full post here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Friday, December 01, 2017

Free E-Book: C.S. Lewis- A Profile in Faith

Today's post features a free e-book written to commemorate the late Christian apologist and author C.S. Lewis.  The book discusses:
  • His Life and Faith
  • His Thought and Teaching
  • His Family and Friends
  • His Influences
The book includes chapters by C.S. Lewis Scholars:

Dr. Lyle W. Dorsett - Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism at Beeson Divinity School

Dr. James M. Houston
- Founder of Regent College, Co-founder of C.S. Lewis Institute
Dr. Art Lindsley - Vice President of Theological Initiatives at Institute for Faith, Work and Economics
Marjorie Lamp Mead - Associate Director of the Wade Center at Wheaton College
The late Dr. Christopher W. Mitchell - Professor of Christian Thought, Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University
Dr. Earl F. Palmer - Founder of Earl Palmer Ministries
Dr. Philip G. Ryken - President of Wheaton College

You can download your free copy here. [PDF] An iBook version is available here.

This book has been added to our Free Apologetics E-book Library.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Interview: William Lane Craig on the Impact of C.S. Lewis

Notable Christian Apologist: C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis on Rationality and Materialism

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Updated: The Usual Suspects- Responses to "Notable" Skeptics


This is a page designed to offer various critiques and answers to the arguments offered up by opponents of Christianity. I will be adding more names to the list. If you have a specific skeptic that you think should be included or an excellent response to one already on the list, please let me know via the comments.

Dan Barker

Answers to Dan Barker's Bible Quiz by J.P. Holding

A Response to Dan Barker's Pagan Christianity by Tyler V

Dan Barker's Losing Faith in Faith: A Critique by J.P. Holding

Taming Bible "Discrepancies" by Rachel D. Ramer- This article will aid readers in understanding Barker's brand of Bible reading.

Various Essays
by Mariano Grinbank of True Freethinker

Richard Carrier


A Response to "Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story" by J.P. Holding

Audio: Unbelievable? Was Jesus created as an ancient myth? Richard Carrier vs David Marshall

Jesus Did Exist: A Response to Richard Carrier by Jimmy Akin

Richard Carrier vs. William Lane Craig Audio Debate- This debate says a lot!

The Problem with Miracles by Kyle Butt

What Should Jesus Do? A Response to Richard Carrier by Carson Weitnauer

Richard Dawkins


A Review of The God Delusion by Bede

Comparing Dawkins' Blind Faith with Flew's Evidence by Peter S. Williams

Darwin's Rottweiler and the Public Understanding of Scientism by Peter S. Williams

Dawkins' Central Argument Once More by William Lane Craig

Debunking Dawkins: The God Delusion by Rich Deem

Does Science Prove that God Does Not Exist?  A Look at Richard Dawkins by Gregory Ganssle

Ed Feser Responds to Richard Dawkins on Thomas [Aquinas'] 5 Ways (Audio)

Freud's Dad & Dawkins' Delusion – C.S. Lewis Responds? by Melvin Tinker (Audio)

Reflections on Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker by Dallas Willard

Richard Dawkins' Argument for Atheism in The God Delusion by William Lane Craig

The Dawkins Confusion by Alvin Plantinga

The Storyteller and the Scientist by Phillip E. Johnson

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Richard Dawkins' Failed Rebuttal of Natural Theology by Peter S. Williams

What would God say to Richard Dawkins? Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett Hunts the Snark by David B. Hart

God, Naturalism, and the Foundations of Morality by Paul Copan

In Defense of Theistic Arguments- William Lane Craig critiques Dennett's arguments against theism (audio)

Book Review by David Bentley Hart: From Bacteria to Bach and Back by D. Dennett

Earl Doherty

Earl Doherty, the Jesus Myth, and Second Century Christian Writings by GakuseiDon

Earl Daherty's use of the Epistle to the Hebrews by Christopher Price Part I Part II

Earl Doherty use of the phrase "According to the Flesh" by Christopher Price

Mike Licona responses to Earl Doherty (Deals with Flemming's film, The God Who Wasn't There)

Bart Ehrman

A Response to Bart Ehrman by Thomas Howe [PDF]

Audio of Mike Licona Responding to Bart Ehrman by Apologetics315 [47 minutes]

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: An Analysi
Bart Ehrman's Forged: Writing in the Name of God- A Review by Mike Licona

Ehrman Project- This site provides responses to Ehrman's provocative conclusions


Losing Christianity: A New Testament Scholar's Fall from Faith by Stephen J. Bedard

Misquoting Jesus: Does Bart Ehrman Prove that the New Testament is Corrupt? by Daniel McCarthy

Review of Bart Ehrman's Book: "Forged: Writing in the Name of God" by Mike Licona


Why the Followers of Jesus Recognized Him as Divine by Craig Evans (Response to How Jesus became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee)
Brian Flemming


A Review of The God Who Wasn't There by Mike Licona

The Argument that Wasn't There by Melinda Penner

Sam Harris

Among the Unbelievers: The Tedium of Dogmatic Atheism by Christ Lehman, Reason Magazine

Debate Audio: William Lane Craig vs. Sam Harris debate, "Is God Good?"  Here, Craig decimates Harris' thesis in his book The Moral Landscape.

If I Debated Sam Harris – a mock debate by Lisa Quintana

Is “Right” and  “Wrong” Simply a Matter of “Human Flourishing”? by J. Warner Wallace

Navigating Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape by William Lane Craig

Sam Harris, Christ’s Resurrection, and the Nature of Belief by Kyle Butt

Sam Harris' Faith in Eastern Spirituality and Muslim Torture by John Gorenfield

Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation: Answer Key by J.P. Holding

Sam Harris' Wrongheaded View of Christian Faith by Lenny Esposito

The End of Faith-a review by Peter Hartwell

The Faith of Disbelief by Dennis Prager

Stephen Hawking

As a Scientist I'm Certain that Stephen Hawking is Wrong. You can't Explain the Universe without God by Professor John Lennox

Has Science Eliminated God? with Dr. William Lane Craig (mp3s)
Part I Part II

Hawking and the Grand Designer MP3 by Peter S. Williams

The Grand Design- Truth or Fiction by Dr. William Lane Craig 


Christopher Hitchens: My Response to god is not Great by Mark Roberts

Debate Video: Does God Exist? William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens Doesn't have the Goods by Stand to Reason

Hitchens vs. Hitchens by Peter Hitchens

Is Christianity Good for the World? A discussion between Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens hosted by Christianity Today

Lawrence Krauss 

A Universe From Someone: Against Lawrence Krauss by Peter S. Williams

"A Universe From Nothing" with William Lane Craig; a 3 pt. podcast

Fifty Shades of Nothing by Ed Feser

Not Understanding Nothing by Ed Feser

Pale, Small, Silly Nerdy: NY Times Give a Devastating Smack to New Atheists' Favorite Cosmologist

Scientists Should Tell Lawrence Krauss to Shut Up Already by Ed Feser

What Part of "Nothing" Does Lawrence Krauss Not Understand? by James Barham

John Loftus

Debate Video: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? - John Loftus vs. David Wood

Debate Video: John Loftus v. Abdu Murray- Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?

Loftus: Apologist to Atheist by Norm Geisler

Unbelievable? Does Christianity pass the Outsider Test? David Marshall vs John Loftus

What is Biblical Faith? by Chad Gross

Jeffrey Jay Lowder

In my opinion, Lowder is a top notch defender of metaphysical naturalism.  He is fair-minded and rigorous in his arguments.  Even as a Christian theist, I have found his work personally challenging and helpful.

Answers for Jeffery Lowder by David Marshall


Assessing Lowder’s Argument for Naturalism:     Part 1  Part 2

Debate Video: Jeff Lowder vs. Frank Turek- What Better Explains Reality: Naturalism or Theism?  My review is included.

Looking at the totality of the evidence: a response to Jeffery Jay Lowder via Uncommon Descent 

Jesus Seminar


Darrell Bock on the Jesus Seminar (MP3 Audio) by Apologetics315

Five Gospels, but No Gospel: Jesus and the Seminar by N.T. Wright [PDF]

Marcus Borg: a Critique by J.P. Holding

Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: Presuppositions and Pretensions of the Jesus Seminar by William Lane Craig

Response to J.D. Crossan: Doing Justice to Jesus by N.T. Wright

The Jesus Seminar and the Gospel of Thomas by James White

The Jesus Seminar Under Fire by Greg Koukl

Unmasking the Jesus Seminar by Mark D. Roberts

William Lane Craig vs. Marcus Borg: The Resurrection(MP3 audio) by Apologetics315

Michael Shermer

A Summary Critique: Why Science Can't Explain Morality by Paul Copan- Book review of The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule

Michael Shermer and Ben Witherington Discuss the Gospels by Mariano Grinbank

Michael Shermer- The Moral Argument for Embarrassment by Mariano Grinbank

Michael Shermer, "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against ID" (Lecture) Corrected by Doug Groothuis

Shermer's Conflicted Message by Casey Luskin

John Shelby Spong

Debate: William Lane Craig vs. John Shelby Spong: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Audio Video



Spong Kong Phooey by Brent Hardaway

What is Wrong with Bishop Spong? by Michael Bott and Jonathan Sarfarti

G.A. Wells

A Summary Critique: Questioning the Existence of Jesus by Dr. Gary Habermas

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Note to Readers: The use of the film The Usual Suspects is simply for creative fun! This is not meant to imply anything about skeptics themselves.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Historic Heresies Related to the Nature of Jesus

In the subject post, J. Warner Wallace provides a summary of each of the following heresies:

Adoptionism
Docetism
Apollinarianism
Arianism
Nestorianism
Eutychianism (Monophysitism)
Monothelitism

Wallace writes that "the more we understand these classic heresies related to Jesus, the better prepared we will be to spot counterfeits when they re-emerge in our culture."

You can read the full post here .

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

Charles Spurgeon on Intelligent Faith

“I have noticed that whenever a person gives up his belief in the Word of God because it requires that he should believe a good deal, his unbelief requires him to believe a great deal more. If there be any difficulties in the faith of Christ, they are not one-tenth as great as the absurdities in any system of unbelief which seeks to take its place.”

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


HT: Always Be Ready



Related Posts

Do Atheists Believe in Miracles Without a Miracle Worker?

"Mere Christianity" Made Simple

Former Atheist Lee Strobel on Atheism vs. Christianity

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Video: The Truth about Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Atheist Joel Marks on God and Morality

"The long and the short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality.  I call the premise of this argument 'hard atheism.' ... A 'soft atheist' would hold that one could be an atheist and still believe in morality.  And indeed, the whole crop of 'New Atheists' are softies of this kind.  So was I, until I experienced my shocking epiphany that the religious fundamentalists are correct: without God, there is no morality. But they are incorrect, I still believe, about there being a God.  Hence, I believe, there is no morality."1



Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Footnote:
1. Joel Marks, "An Amoral Manifesto I," Philosophy Now 80 (August/September 2010): 30 as quoted by Abdu H. Murray in Grand Central Question.

Related Posts

The First Premise of the Moral Argument

Counterpoints: Alvin Plantinga and Michael Ruse on Morality

Video: God and Arguments from Morality by Chad A. Gross

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Article: 5 Common Objections to the Moral Argument by Paul Rezkalla

Taken from here with permission from Apologetics315:

The Moral Argument for the existence of God has been graced with a long tradition of defense from theistic (and atheistic!) philosophers and thinkers throughout the history of Western thought…and a long tradition of misunderstandings and objections by even some of the most brilliant minds. To be fair, the argument is not always as intuitive as theists like to think it is. Essentially, the moral argument seeks to infer God as the best explanation for the objective moral facts about the universe. One of the most popular formulations is as follows:
  1. Objective morality cannot exist unless God exists.
  2. Objective morality exists.
  3. Therefore, God exists.
There are a host of common objections that are usually blown in the direction of this argument, but for the sake of brevity, I will only deal with five.

1. “But I’m a moral person and I don’t believe in God. Are you saying that atheists can’t be moral?”

The moral argument has nothing to do with belief in God. No proponent of the moral argument has ever argued that an individual cannot be moral unless they hold belief in God. Rather, the argument deals with grounding, or substantiating, objective morality. If God does not exist, then there can be no basis for objective morality. Sure, atheists can be moral. In fact, I know several atheists who are more moral than some theists! The issue of belief is not pertinent to the argument. The argument simply highlights the fact that there must be a basis– some kind of standard–that is outside of ourselves, in order for there to be objective morality. This objection makes a category error of confusing a question of moral ontology (Is there a moral reality?) with moral epistemology (How do we come to know or believe in the moral reality?).

2. “But what if you needed to lie in order to save someone’s life? It seems that morality is not absolute as you say it is.”

We’re not talking about absolute morality here. There is an important difference betweenabsolute and objective. Absolutism requires that something will, or must, always be the case. Objectivity simply means ‘mind-independent’ or ‘judgement-independent’. When I argue for objective morality, I’m not arguing that it is always the case that lying or killing are wrong; the moral argument does not defend absolute morality. Rather, it contends that there is a standard of morality that transcends human opinions, judgments, biases, and proclivities. Let’s suppose that some nation today decreed that everyone of its homosexual citizens would be tortured to death simply for being homosexual; it would still be the case that, ‘It is wrong to torture homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual’.

The statement, ’It is wrong to torture homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual’ is true, regardless of whether or not anyone believes it to be true. This is what is meant byobjective.

3. ‘Where’s your evidence for objective morality? I won’t believe in anything unless I have evidence for it.’

Well in that case, you shouldn’t believe that I exist. You shouldn’t believe that your parents gave birth to you. You shouldn’t believe that your closest loved ones are real, actual persons who matter and have feelings. You shouldn’t believe that the external world around you is actually there. After all, how do you know that you are not a brain in a vat being electrically stimulated by a crazy scientist who wants you to think that all of this is real? You could be in the matrix, for all you know (take the blue pill)! How do you know that you weren’t created a couple minutes ago and implanted with memories of your entire past life? How could you possibly prove otherwise?

See where this is going? Denying the existence of something on the basis of, ‘I will not believe unless I have evidence for it’ leaves you with solipsism. We believe in the reality of the external world on the basis of our experience of the external world, and we are justified in believing that the external world is real unless we had good evidence to think otherwise. There is no way to prove (empirically or otherwise) that the external world is real, or that the past wasn’t created 2 minutes ago with the appearance of age, and yet we all believe these to be true and are justified in doing so. In the absence of defeating evidence, we are justified in trusting our experience of the external world. In the same way, I think we can know that objective morality exists on the basis of our moral experience. We have access to moral facts about the universe through our moral intuition. Unless we have good reason to distrust our moral experience, we are justified in accepting the reality of the objective moral framework that it presents us with.

4. ‘If morality is objective, then why do some cultures practice female genital mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide, and other atrocities which we, in the West, deem unacceptable?’

There can be two responses given here:

The first response is that even though not all cultures share the exact same moral facts, most embrace the same, underlying moral values. For example, there are certain tribes that practice senicide (authorized killing of the elderly) due to their belief that everyone in the afterlife will continue living on in the same body that they died with. Thus, in order to ensure that those in the afterlife are capable of hunting, swimming, building houses, etc., the elderly are killed before they become too old to take care of themselves. This act is done with the well-being of the elderly in mind. The moral value that we hold in the West- ”The elderly are valuable and must be taken care of”- is also accepted by these tribes, even though their facts are slightly (well, maybe more than slightly) off.

The second response is that some cultures do, in fact, practice certain things that are straight up morally abominable. Cultures that practice infanticide, female circumcision, widow burning, child prostitution, etc. are practicing acts that are repulsive and morally abhorrent. When a man decides to have his 6-year old daughter circumcised or sold into prostitution, that is not a cultural or traditional difference that we should respect and uphold, rather these are atrocities that need to be advocated against and ended. The existence of  multiple moral codes does not negate the existence of objective morality. Are we to condone slavery and segregation since they were once allowed under our country’s moral code? Of course not. We condemn those actions, and rightly so.

Take the example of Nazi Germany: the Nazi ideology consented to the slaughter of millions, but their actions were wrong despite them thinking that they were right. Tim Keller summarizes this point succintly:
The Nazis who exterminated Jews may have claimed that they didn’t feel it was immoral at all. We don’t care. We don’t care if they sincerely felt they were doing a service to humanity. They ought not to have done it. We do not only have moral feelings, but we also have an ineradicable belief that moral standards exist, outside of us, by which our internal moral feelings are evaluated.
Simply because a society practices acts that are contrary to what is moral does not mean that all moral codes are equal. Moral disagreements do not nullify moral truths.

5. ‘But God carried out many atrocities in the Old Testament. He ordered the genocide of the Canaanites.’

For starters, this isn’t really an objection to the moral argument. It does not attack either premise of the argument. It is irrelevant, but let’s entertain this objection for a second. By making a judgement on God’s actions and deeming them immoral, the objector is appealing to a standard of morality that holds true outside of him/herself and transcends barriers of culture, context, time period, and social norms. By doing this, he/she affirms the existence of objective morality! But if the skeptic wants to affirm objective morality after throwing God out the window, then there needs to be an alternate explanation for its basis. If not God, then what is it? The burden is now on the skeptic to provide a naturalistic explanation for the objective moral framework.

About Paul Rezkalla

Paul graduated from NYU with degrees in Religious Studies and History. He is now studying for an MA in Philosophy of Religion & Ethics at the University of Birmingham in England. He enjoys history, philosophy, and theology.


For more great apologetics resources like this one, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Presenting the Moral Argument Clearly

Article: Can Moral Objectivism Do Without God? by Peter S. Williams

Video: The Moral Argument- Good without God?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Why Do You Defend the Traditionalist Position on Hell?

                                      
 Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Bible Project: How to Read Revelation

I've recently been preparing for speaking to the youth at our church about the book of Revelation.  I had asked them previously for topic ideas to focus on. One of the students mentioned that they have a hard time reading Revelation.

One resource that I have found very helpful in my own understanding of Revelation and other books of the Bible is the Bible Project.  They provide brief videos with interesting diagrams that break down the book to give the reader a high level overview of what it's about.

Below are two videos for Revelation that can be accessed via YouTube.  You can also download "posters" as supplemental resources when studying the Bible.

The Revelation poster can be found here.




God Bless,

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Preview- Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique

About the Authors

This massive volume (1008 pages) is edited by:

J.P. Moreland
Stephen Meyer
Chris Shaw
Ann Grauger
Wayne Grudem

You can learn more about the editors and the contributors here.

About the Book


The debate about biological origins continues to be hotly contested within the Christian church. Prominent organizations such as Biologos (USA) and Faraday Institute (UK) insist that Christians must yield to an unassailable scientific consensus in favor of contemporary evolutionary theory and modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life accordingly. They promote a view known as “theistic evolution” or “evolutionary creation.” They argue that God used—albeit in an undetectable way—evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. This book contests this proposal. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume provides the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced. It documents evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution, opening the door to scientific and theological alternatives—making the book essential reading for understanding this worldview-shaping issue.

You can order your copy here.

An free online excerpt can be found here.  You can hear more about the book here.

Evolution News explains why you should consider reading the book here

J.P. Moreland discusses the book here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Article: 8 Ways Christians Can Understand Mass Shootings by Mark Perez

Today's featured article is from Mark Perez, a retired deputy chief from the Los Angeles Police Department who holds a master’s in philosophy of science from California State University-Los Angeles, a CSU certificate in critical thinking, and a master’s in public administration from American Military University.

Mr. Perez's piece offers a Christ-centered and practical response to this tragic and heart-wrenching issue.  He writes:

"The recent string of mass shootings in the US and worldwide has understandably rattled people’s nerves. Many wonder what they can do to protect themselves and, more importantly, what they can do to make sense of such acts of terror. I spent 36 years in law enforcement, retiring last year from the Los Angeles Police Department as a deputy chief of police. I am also a Christian. As a police officer, I’ve been trained to engage in direct combat in the event of such attacks, and I’ve worked with experts in how mass-murderers think and operate. In light of my background, I want to offer eight tips on how Christians can be both shrewd and compassionate in our response to terrorism."

Checkout the entire article here.  Many thanks to philosopher Ken Samples for sharing this helpful piece.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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