Apologetics


Many Christians believe abortion is morally justified in cases of rape and incest – what I call “pro-life with a footnote.” I spoke extensively on this in part 16 (episode 23) of my podcast series on abortion, but wanted to say a bit more about this here.

This position fails to understand the logic of the pro-life position. We are opposed to abortion because the act of abortion (1) unjustly (2) takes the life of an (3) innocent, (4) valuable (5) human being. All five of these points are still true when a baby is conceived via rape or incest. The circumstances under which a human being is conceived does not change what is conceived, so the unborn is still human, still valuable, and still innocent even if he was conceived by an act of moral violence. Abortion would still take the life of the human conceived under such circumstances in the same manner it takes the life of humans conceived under other circumstances. As such, it would still be unjust to kill the baby conceived by rape or incest. Pro-lifers are opposed to murdering all innocent, valuable, human beings no matter how they came into being, and thus pro-lifers ought to be opposed to abortion under all circumstances.

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I told you about my relativism series in the last post. It is divided up into three sub-series: epistemological relativism (there is no truth at all), moral relativism (there is no moral truth), and religious relativism (there is no religious truth. I finished up the sub-series on epistemological relativism in December, and I’ve posted the first two episodes in the moral relativism sub-series in the last week.
In the first episode I provide an outline for the sub-series, explain the differences between moral objectivism and moral relativism, distinguish moral relativism from moral skepticism, explore how pervasive moral relativism is in our culture, and explain why we should be concerned.
In the second episode, I explain why people reject moral objectivity in favor of moral relativity: (1) It seems to follow from atheism; (2) It gives intellectual justification for one’s sin; (3) They desire moral neutrality and non-judgmentalism; (4) They think moral disagreements means there is no moral truth. After critiquing each of these reasons, I go on to discuss why it is that humans disagree on moral matters.
Give it a listen at https://thinkingtobelieve.buzzsprout.com or wherever you get your podcasts from.

I’ve begun a new podcast series on relativism. I started with the broadest form of relativism – epistemological relativism – which is the idea that no truth can be known. I’ll extend this to more specific forms of relativism: moral relativism and religious relativism (pluralism). In this context, I’ll be dealing with the notions of tolerance and judgmentalism as well. Listen wherever you get your podcasts or at http://thinkingtobelieve.buzzsprout.com.

The Senate just passed a bill to make same-sex marriage the law of the land, codify the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision into law. While it protects religious organizations from having to use their facilities for sa2me-sex weddings, it does not offer business owners any protections from being forced to render their services for same-sex weddings (e.g. florists, photographers, cake makers).

On a practical level, this law doesn’t change much. Same-sex marriage has already been the law of the land since 2015 due to the Supreme Court’s decision. What is particularly troubling to me is the fact that 12 Republicans voted in favor of this bill: Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Roy Blunt (Missouri), Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Todd Young (Indiana). They wouldn’t even vote in favor of Mike Lee’s proposed amendment that would provide conscience protections for Americans and non-religious organizations and businesses. That signals to me that the party is moving away from conservatism toward libertarianism.

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It can be difficult to start a conversation with someone regarding spiritual things. Here are some possibilities I’ve come up with:

  1. What is your worldview?
  2. Do you think there is anything beyond the physical world?
  3. Everyone recognizes that there is something broken about our world. What do you think the problem is?
  4. What is your hope in? What do you draw hope from?
  5. I’m curious. Do you believe in God? If not, why not?
  6. I’m a believer in God. Since you’re not, I would be interested to give you some of the reasons I believe in God and get your take on them.
  7. Have you ever read the Bible? If so, what did were your thoughts on it?
  8. What do you think about the person of Jesus?

Do you have any others that you’ve found helpful?

Naturalism cannot support the idea that human beings have real, intrinsic value. This is a feature of the Judeo-Christian theology of the imago Dei – that we are made in the image of God. Absent this theological foundation, there is no reason to think human value is real. At best, humans only have a subjective, extrinsic value; i.e. our value is derived from our own estimation of ourselves. Human beings value particular traits that they possess, and thus value the human beings who possess such traits (a circular, biased, and wholly subjective estimation). This sort of value, however, is fictitious. It only exists in our minds, and it only extends to those that we think it extends to. This value is never equal, and it rarely applies to all human beings. Some human beings will be considered to be more valuable than others, and some will be deemed to have no value at all.

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Many Eastern religions make this claim about God. And now, it is being picked up as a popular idea among Westerners. Unfortunately, it is incoherent.

To say God is unknowable is either a statement about God or a statement about ourselves. If it is a statement about God, it is an affirmation that he has no properties capable of being known. And yet having at least one property is what differentiates existence from non-existence. If God has no properties, then he doesn’t exist.

If it is a statement about ourselves – our ability to know a God with specific properties – then it is self-refuting because the statement itself is a claim to know something about God: He is unknowable. If God were unknowable, we would not even be able to know that He was unknowable. The point can be made succinctly by asking, “How do you know God is unknowable if nothing can be known of God? Isn’t that something you know about him?”

Either way you look at it, that statement is incoherent.

There is a lot of confusion about what is meant by “moral relativism” and “moral objectivism/realism”

“Subjective” and “objective” tell you about the source of the truth maker; i.e. what makes something true. Is it the beliefs of the subject (the person’s mind) that make it true, or is it an object in the external world? My belief that homemade vanilla ice cream is the best ice cream is what makes it true that homemade vanilla ice cream is the best ice cream for me. In contrast, the curvature of space-time is what makes gravity true – not just for me, but for everyone. Gravity is true regardless of what I believe about it.

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2/15/18 – Richmond, VA – Virginia House of Delegates 2018.
Photo credit: Amanda Maglione

Why should you care about the trans issue? Why not just let people do what they want? Here’s a good reason: The State is taking kids away from parents.

It’s already happening. Parents are being stripped of their parental rights because they will not use their child’s preferred name/pronouns or consent to “gender affirmation care.” Think about it. If the only way to help trans people is to affirm their identities, then those who do not affirm them are responsible for harming them. In the same way the State will not allow you to physically harm your child, they will not allow you to emotionally and medically harm your child by denying them “life-saving” gender care.

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Thomas would not believe the report of the other disciples who said they had seen Jesus alive. He only believed in Jesus’ resurrection after Jesus appeared to Him as well. Jesus’ words to Thomas on that day have been immortalized in the Gospel of John: “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

This verse is often used by those who oppose the use of evidence and reason in evangelism. They argue that if God’s blessing is given to those who believe in Jesus’ resurrection without evidence, then apologetic arguments aren’t just unnecessary, but a spiritual hindrance that robs people of the blessing that comes through faith. On its face, Jesus does appear to berate Thomas for requiring evidence of His resurrection while pronouncing a blessing on those who believe without the need for evidence. A closer examination of the passage in its context, however, reveals this reading of the text to be mistaken.

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Back when our country was still debating whether or not we should change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, those opposed to the redefinition argued that if we did so, polygamy and polyamory would be next. Opponents argued that this was a crazy slippery slope fallacy. But it wasn’t. It was a valid slippery slope argument. Conservatives were simply noting that the rationale for redefining marriage to include same-sex couples applied equally to all sorts of other relationships, including polygamy and polyamory. If you include same-sex couples, there is no rational basis on which to exclude polygamy. The idea that marriage should be limited to just two people is based on the sex binary. Once the sex binary is replaced with a simple requirement of “love and commitment,” polygamous and polyamorous relationships qualify for marriage as well.

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We tend to trust the experts. The impulse is right because the experts have more knowledge and expertise in the subject than we do. They know the nuances. But when the experts claim to be above critique by non-experts, that’s a problem. When they say (in so many words) “you can’t evaluate my claims because I am the smart one and you are the dummy,” they are presenting an empty appeal to authority. The experts often differ among themselves, so we have reason to question the experts. After all, they can’t all be right. The only way to determine who is right is to question the experts.

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Trans people commit suicide at very high rates compared to the general population, both before and after “gender affirmation” surgery. While this is a sad and regrettable reality, unfortunately, Christians are being blamed for this phenomenon.

People who say that those who disagree with transgender ideology are responsible for trans suicides are engaging in emotional blackmail. It is ridiculous to suggest that we must support and celebrate people’s delusions to prevent them from harming themselves. After all, who would suggest that we agree with anorexic people’s self-perception that they are fat and need liposuction to prevent them from killing themselves?

Besides, it’s not just Christians who oppose transgender ideology. Many sane people recognize that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder that is best addressed by fixing the mind, not the body.

Are we to believe that mere disagreement leads people to kill themselves? If so, then trans ideologues must be responsible for Christian suicides since they often disagree with and condemn Christians. Of course, Christians don’t kill themselves simply because non-Christians think we are wrong or hate us. In fact, no emotionally stable person kills themselves simply because others don’t approve of or accept them. The fact that many trans people do indicates that there are deeper emotional and psychological issues at hand. They are not committing suicide simply because people don’t accept the legitimacy of their professed identity, but because of the deeper psychological issues that are causing them to be confused about their gender to begin with. Even after they undergo a “sex change,” they still experience a super high suicide rate. The problem is within.


I’ve started a new podcast series titled “the case for apologetics.” I talk about what apologetics is, the Biblical basis for it, and the value it brings to both believers and unbelievers alike.

If you are unfamiliar with Christian apologetics, this will be a great intro for you. Even if you’ve been following apologetics for some time, I think you’ll find a lot of value in how I break it down.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts from or at https://thinkingtobelieve.buzzsprout.com.

The Scripture says “for this reason the man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife.” The theological justification for marriage is that the woman was taken out of the man, and thus should be reunited with him in sexual union. That does not and cannot apply to same-sex couples. The man was not taken from a man, nor the woman from a woman. Same-sex marriage is excluded on theological grounds, not to mention moral grounds.

My podcast series on abortion is now complete. There were 17 episodes in the series, plus the intro episode. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can listen wherever you get your podcasts or from thinkingtobelieve.buzzsprout.com.

Much of what I covered in the podcast series is contained in my abortion paper. And if you want to read all of my abortion-related posts on this blog, you can do so here.

Here’s a dilemma for those who support abortion.

Imagine that an IVF embryo was inserted into the wrong womb. The clinic notifies both parties. The biological mother wants the baby, but the gestational mother wants to abort the baby because it is not hers. What do you do?

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Belief in God has dropped to 81%, according to Gallup. This is down 6% from 2017, 9% from 2011, and 17% from 1953. Given the accelerated secularization of our society, this is not surprising.

What I find most interesting is who stopped believing in God. Atheism has claimed:

  • More than twice as many women as men (7% drop vs. 3%)
  • The unmarried (8% drop for the unmarried vs. 1% for the married)
  • The young (10% drop for 18-29 year olds vs. 5% for 30-64)
  • Democrats (12% drop vs. 3% for Republicans and Independents)

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June 24, 2022 will go down in history as one of the most important days in American history. I have longed for the day when I would read the headline, “Roe v. Wade Overturned.” That day has arrived, and much sooner than I ever imagined! It was made possible by God, Trump, and SCOTUS justices who care more about interpreting the Constitution than legislating from the bench.
This is not the end of the fight, but just the beginning. The reversal of Roe simply returns the issue of abortion back to the states. Now we need to work at the state level to outlaw abortion in every state of the union. It will happen, eventually. There is coming a day in this country when kids will be just as shocked to learn that we permitted mothers to murder their own children as they are to learn that we permitted people to own other people.
I published a podcast episode on the overturning of Roe after the initial leak. If you want to hear more about the implications of the decision, check it out.

A view of morality you’ll hear a lot in the public square is social contract theory. Contractarianism holds that “morality rests on a tacit agreement between rationally self-interested individuals to abide by certain rules because it is to their mutual advantage to do so.”1 There is nothing intrinsically wrong with murder, rape, or torture, for example, but since rational self-interested persons do not want these things being done to them, they agree to extend the same courtesy to others.2 Philosopher, Edward Feser, offers at least six helpful criticisms of Contractarianism: (more…)

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