Sometimes Answering an Atheist Dignifies Folly

Our contention is simple: taking some atheist arguments seriously dignifies folly, encourages self-satisfying flattery, and diminishes the power of gospel proclamation. The article that Joseph E. Gorra, the managing editor of Philosophia Christi, and I co-authored for the Christian Research Journal follows:

Christian apologists regularly face what we call the distraction challenge: the temptation to take seriously insubstantial objections against God’s existence. An insubstantial objection involves reasoning that is beyond or in spite of intellectual reasons or evidences; it may include nonintellectual or even anti-intellectual factors. We’re not saying that these insubstantial objections are unanswerable or that it is somehow wrong to answer them; we’re just saying that it might be more wise and prudent if our arguments and replies are attentive to the “reasons of the heart” and not only to those of the head.

Although atheists employ other types of insubstantial arguments, for the purpose of this article we will just consider as insubstantial their arguments from “luck.” Certainly not all atheists utilize insubstantial arguments of the kind that we describe. But our concern is this: by lending credence to insubstantial arguments, the Christian apologist risks dignifying folly, encouraging self-satisfying flattery, and ultimately diminishing the power of gospel proclamation. Continue reading

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What to Do When Someone Cries

I teach every semester on the problem of evil and it can get very theological/philosophical. Of course, intelligent answers are what apologists are supposed to give and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if someone is experiencing a crisis, if someone has just suffered a major loss, then explaining God’s larger plan for the universe isn’t what they need. Instead, as Paul said in Romans 12:15, we are to “weep with those who weep.” I used to be a pastor and I’ve seen many people go through crises so I thought I would share a little bit about what to do if someone starts crying Continue reading

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Orientation: Sexual and Otherwise

Today we often hear heartrending stories from people struggling with their sexual orientation and often Christians have responded poorly. There are some attitudes, perceptions, and orientations which can’t be simply switched off, but Christians too often want to just tell struggling people: “Stop it!”

We wish it were so easy, but it’s not.

Let me provide an illustration of how difficult it is to change ones orientation.

Continue reading

Posted in Apologetics, Homosexuality, Psychology, Sex, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 55 Comments

The Truth SERUMM

Today we constantly hear things like, “That’s your truth,” “That’s your reality,” “Who are you to judge?” Sadly, this is a symptom of a thinking disease called relativism. Relativism is the belief that there is no absolute or objective moral truth. In short, the relativist believes that you have your truth and that I have my truth and that there is no truth with a capital T.1 So prevalent is this thinking disease that according to Barna only one-third of adults believe in absolute [or objective] moral truth.2

Of course, this disease isn’t brand new. When Jesus told Pilate that He “came into the world to testify to the truth,” Pilate retorted, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). Indeed, the Romans were syncretistic—they had no problem accepting the worship of other gods. As Frances Schaffer has pointed out, the Romans didn’t hate the Christians because they worshipped Jesus—the Romans hated the Christians because the Christians would worship only Jesus. Continue reading

  1. I’m indebted to my first philosophy professor, Mr. Graham, for this short definition. []
  2. []
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The Truth About the Crusades

Of all the kinds of historical hypocrisy that is attributed to the Christian, none looms as large as the crusades. Thomas Madden, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, sums up the popular conception:

The crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins.1

Continue reading

  1. Thomas F. Madden, “The Real History of the Crusades” Crisis Magazine, Available at: Accessed 7 April 2014. I highly recommend this article. []
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Crusades, Inquisitions, Witch-hunts, etc.

When I teach on why God allows evil, I include a lengthy discussion on the Crusades, inquisitions, witch-hunts, slavery, Nazi Christians, and the oppression of women (for the rest of this post I’m going to sum this up as “Crusades, etc.”). Although these events aren’t typically a part of problem of evil discussions, it’s important for the Christian to answer them because the question naturally arises: If Christians really have the life-changing Good News, then why do they seem to be such bad news for society? Continue reading

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The Bibliographical Test and the Hunt for the Latest Numbers

In my article, The Bibliographical Test Updated, I updated the number and earliness of manuscripts for the New Testament in comparison to other ancient manuscripts. Since then some apologists have asked whether we need to update our numbers on an annual or even semi-annual basis. The short answer is No. Frequent updating of the bibliographical test is unnecessary and it is virtually impossible to do so. I will deal with each of these in turn. Continue reading

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Rejoinder: God Won’t Give You More than You Can Handle

Recently a pastor wrote a very popular blog entitled, “Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve seen it frequently “Shared” and apparently it has gotten many thousands of “Likes” on Facebook. In Googling around I found other websites expressing similar sentiments. I don’t want to embarrass the author so I’m not going to name him. But I’m concerned about this notion getting wide agreement because it is terribly imprecise, misleading, and can call God’s goodness into question.

The author calls the idea that God will never give you more than you can handle BS. Continue reading

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The Bibliographical Test Updated

I posted on this previously but now that the Christian Research Journal has made the entire article available online, I’m doing it again.

For more than forty years Christians have appealed to what is called the “bibliographical test” as a means of establishing the New Testament’s (NT) transmissional accuracy. The bibliographical test examines the overall number of extant manuscripts (sometimes abbreviated to MSS or MS for the singular) and the difference between the date of the original writing, called the autograph, and the date of the earliest surviving, or extant, manuscript. Since we do not possess the autograph of even one ancient document, this test best determines transmissional accuracy for any ancient document. Continue reading

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If You’re Honest, You’re Depressed (or You’re a Christian)

We know that countless people are depressed, and millions are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and millions take antidepressants. And I’m not surprised!


Because honest people—and by that I mean the people not living in denial, the people honest about the human condition—should be depressed! Very depressed.

Consider a truth agreed upon by every agnostic, skeptic, atheist, and Christian: only one thing is going to prevent you from watching every person you know die from murder, accident, or disease and that will be your own death by murder, accident or disease. Continue reading

Posted in Apologetics, Eternal Life, Resurrection, Truth | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments