Apologetics


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…)

Many unbelievers have dismissed the testimony of the Biblical writers regarding the resurrection of Jesus on the basis that these witnesses are Christians. They argue that as Christians, the Biblical authors were biased to believe in the resurrection, making their testimony unreliable. Greg Koukl discussed the merits of this argument on his radio broadcast many years ago. I would like to share some of his ideas with you, as well as add a few of my own.

This objection presumes that rational objectivity is impossible if one has taken a position on a matter (in this case, the resurrection of Jesus Christ), but this ignores the fact that rational objectivity may be what led these individuals to believe in the resurrection in the first place. The evidence could have been so strong in favor of that conclusion that they were incapable of remaining intellectually honest without affirming that Jesus rose from the dead.

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Since we are not omniscient, we can be wrong about any number of things for which we think we are right. How would we ever know if we are, in fact, wrong? One way to do so is to actively engage with the best arguments of your ideological opponents. What are their criticisms of your view? What are their arguments for their own view?

Another way to check our beliefs is to be self-critical. How would you argue against your point of view? What would you identify as the weakest link in your argument? What presuppositions does your view require? What sorts of objections might opponents raise against your argument or view? In other words, try to disprove your point of view. You will strengthen it in the process, or perhaps, change it if you discover the evidence points in another direction.

When discussing our views, it is also helpful to be transparent about the weaknesses of our argument, our presuppositions, and address objections that others have raised against it. People will appreciate your honesty and it often makes your case more convincing.

Greg Koukl delivered a lecture at the 2006 Master’s Series in Christian Thought on the topic, “Truth is a Strange Sort of Fiction: The Challenge from the Emergent Church.” While the Emergent Church has morphed into the Progressive Church, the information is just as relevant today as it was in 2006.

Koukl argued that truth and knowledge are essential to the enterprise of Biblical faith, demonstrating this both Biblically and philosophically. Here is a summary of his case:

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People act as if there is no connection between sex and babies, such that when they get pregnant they have the right to abort their baby because they didn’t want a baby. Amy Hall observed that this is like thinking there is no connection between food and calories. The fact of the matter is that if you eat too much, you’ll get fat. That’s the natural consequence of eating too much. You can’t choose to eat without also consenting to the calories. Likewise, each time we engage in sex, we consent to the possibility of creating a child because that is what the act is designed to do.

This is a difficult question. It’s not difficult theologically, but practically. If we give a simple “yes” answer, it makes Christianity and the God of Christianity look petty or bigoted. So how can we communicate the answer in a way that is both truthful and tactful? Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason has some tips for answering this question in a tactical manner.

First, clarify why it is that people go to hell. It’s not because they fail a theology test, but because they fail a moral test. People will be sentenced to hell for their moral crimes against a holy God, not for their failure to believe in Jesus. Sin is like a disease. Both will kill you (one physically, one spiritually) if they go untreated. Those who die of an untreated disease do not die because they haven’t visited the doctor, but because of their disease. Likewise, people do not go to hell because they have failed to believe in Jesus, but because of their sin.

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If God is omniscient, then He knows everything that will happen in the future – including everything you will ever do. God knows that on x date at time t1 you will stub your toe, and on q date at time t5 you will forget where you placed your keys. God has had such knowledge from eternity past. Since God cannot be mistaken, it is certain that you will stub your toe on x date at time t1 and forget your keys on q date at time t5. How, then, can our “choices” be free? Does God’s knowledge of the future eliminate free will, reducing us to mere actors who simply perform the parts of a cosmic play written for us by God from eternity past? Are we puppets with no control over our own destiny? Is our experience of free choice illusory? Darwinist, Robert Eberle, sums up the problem nicely:

[Francis] Collins asserts that there is still free will, but fails to explain his logic for arriving at this extraordinary conclusion. Either what will be is known and fixed or it is not. An infallible god that knows what is going to happen is in conflict with the idea that there is free choice and thus a responsibility for one’s actions.[1]

I am not persuaded that God’s knowledge of the future determines our fate for two reasons. First, knowledge is not a cause of anything. Knowledge of some x is not what causes x to be. The truth of x must precede the knowledge of x.

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It’s not uncommon to hear some people characterize atheism as a religion. Is it? It depends, in part, on how one defines religion. That’s a tricky subject that does not have widespread agreement. Be that as it may, I think most people would say atheism can’t be categorized as a religion because religions worship deities, and atheism explicitly denies the existence of any deity. However, that’s not accurate. Most forms of Buddhism could be categorized as atheist or agnostic. There is no worship of any deity, and yet Buddhism is properly categorized as a religion.

That said, I don’t think atheism should be categorized as a religion. There are no “cult” practices, for example. There is no set of moral principles that atheists are bound to. Atheism is just an answer to a single question: Does God exist? A point of view on a single issue does not constitute a religion. It is not robust enough. And while it’s true that this question is properly categorized as a religious question, that doesn’t mean that every answer is a religious answer or constitutes a religion. Atheists answer the question in the negative. They do not think God exists. So atheism is a negative claim about what does not exist. How can a claim about what does not exist constitute a religion? Surely religions make positive claims about what does exist, not negative claims about what does not. As a meme I once saw expressed, if atheism is a religion, then “off” is a TV channel.

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Is gender something more than our biology? Are our souls also gendered?

I tend to think our souls are also gendered given how differently men and women are. We think differently, we value different things, etc. Since these are functions of the mind, and the mind is a function of the soul, it seems to follow that there are different kinds of souls: male and female. Of course, it’s possible that these differences could be caused by hormonal differences between men and women. What do you think, and what are your reasons?

When Christians offer arguments for the existence of God based on the beginning of the universe or the objective nature of morality, some atheists will respond by asking, “Why can’t we just say we don’t know what caused the universe or what the objective source of morality is?” How might a thoughtful Christian respond?

I would suggest that you turn the question around. Ask them, “Why can’t we just admit that God best explains the origin of the universe and the objective nature of morality?” The atheist wants to plead ignorance, but we are not ignorant on these matters. It’s not as if we don’t know what the options are. We do. And it’s not as if the evidence is equal for all options. We have solid scientific, philosophical, and logical evidence that points to God as the cause of the universe and ground of morality. In other words, we have knowledge, not ignorance. So why not just say we don’t know? It’s because that would be a false statement. We do know. The evidence clearly favors the theistic hypothesis.

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Jesus’ foremost mission was the salvation of sinners, not social justice. While the marginalized and oppressed tended to be the most receptive to Jesus’ message, his message was for all people because all people need to be saved.

What about Jesus’ healing ministry? While Jesus surely had compassion on the sick, His miracles had a bigger purpose than just helping the destitute and needy. They were intended to reveal His identity and confirm His message.

Jesus never raised money for the poor or went on a campaign to liberate the oppressed. If those things could be done, great, but that was not Jesus’ mission, and it’s not the church’s mission either. Our primary mission is to preach the gospel and call sinners to repentance. If we can help their lot in life along the way, all the better, but we must keep the Great Commission the central mission of the church.

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason recently wrote an article related to this topic. He debunks the idea the myth that Jesus was a social justice warrior championing the cause of the poor and oppressed. Check it out.

When it comes to evangelism, some of the hardest people to work with are those who are apathetic toward spiritual things. They simply don’t care whether God exists. This is often a conversation stopper. If you want to press on a bit more, however, there are some tactics for doing so. I’ve offered some thoughts on this in the past (here and here), but as I was reflecting on this the other day again, I came up with another tactic you might find helpful.

When Mr. Apathetic says he doesn’t care if God exists or not, ask him what he does care about. Often, what he cares about will be tied to the existence of God in some way. Tactically speaking, our job is to help him see the relationship between (1) what he cares about and (2) God’s existence in hopes that this will raise his interest in the latter.

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If you don’t know why those who believe different than you believe what they believe, then it’s hard to be dogmatic about what you believe. After all, they may know something you don’t. You may be wrong and don’t know it.

That’s not to say you have to thoroughly examine all positions before being justified in taking a position and believing it to be true. You can take a position based on the evidence you have seen, but in the absence of knowing how others justify their positions and their arguments against the position you hold, you should not be dogmatic about your position.

Euphemisms can be helpful. They allow us to talk about difficult topics in a sensitive way. They lessen the emotional impact. That’s why we have euphemisms for sex, excretions, and death.

However, sometimes, euphemisms are created to deceive. They are meant to make something that is evil sound good. They are distortions of language. The Nazis were masters at this. “Special treatment” meant execution. The “final solution” meant killing all Jewish people.

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Christians will often point out to atheists that if there is no God, then there is no objective meaning and purpose to life. Atheists will typically respond by saying that they create their own meaning in life. They find meaning in what they do, in family, etc. There are at least four problems with this, however.

First, they are substituting subjective, proximate meaning for objective, transcendent meaning. When people ask what the meaning and purpose of life is, they are not asking for advice concerning what meaning and purpose they should invent for their life. They are searching for something transcendent. They are looking to discover something that is already there, not invent something new. By substituting objective, transcendent meaning for subjective, proximate meaning, the atheist is referring to an entirely different understanding of meaning.

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Based on my research, if you have been infected with COVID-19, there is no good reason for you to get vaccinated. Getting Covid provides you with a natural immunity to future reinfections that is thousands of times more effective than the immunity conferred by the vaccines. Also, the vaccines fare no better than natural immunity at preventing the transmission of Covid. Let me explain.

Personal protection

Studies have shown that those who become infected with Covid develop a natural immunity that lasts for at least 7-8 months, and most likely, years to come. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a study that was published January 6, 2021 in Science.[1] Speaking of this study, the NIH writes: “But, promisingly, their levels [of antibodies] remained fairly stable over time, declining only modestly at 6 to 8 months after infection. …. 95% of the people had at least 3 out of 5 immune-system components that could recognize SARS-CoV-2 up to 8 months after infection.”[2] A decline in antibodies does not mean that immunity is diminishing rapidly over time. Immunologist Scott Hensley, of the University of Pennsylvania, notes that “[i]t doesn’t mean that those people no longer have antibodies. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have protection.”[3]

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Texas is on a roll! First, Texas reported zero Covid deaths for May 15, despite having lifted all Covid restrictions on March 10. When Texas announced they were lifting their restrictions in March, our president called it “Neanderthal” and the media went into a frenzy about how this would lead to untold deaths. They were all wrong. Texas (and freedom) got the last laugh, and demonstrated (once again) that lockdowns are not effective.

And now, Texas has banned all abortions after a heartbeat can be detected. Surely it will be challenged, so we’ll see if it goes anywhere.

The telltale sign of fascism is the silencing of dissent. If you don’t agree with the fascists’ point of view, you will be de-platformed, cancelled, fired, imprisoned, or killed. Which side of the ideological aisle is engaging in fascism these days? Here’s a clue: It’s not the Right. While we haven’t seen the Left imprisoning or killing anyone in this country yet, given enough time, and given enough power, it will happen. It’s already happening in other countries, and we can see the same trajectory in our own.

Perhaps you have heard of the former Interior Minister of Finland, Päivi Räsänen, who is being charged for a hate crime because she publicly expressed her disapproval of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. She is facing up to two years in prison. Stories of people being arrested for expressing moral disapproval of homosex have been mounting over the years in Europe, Canada, and Australia. We are headed in the same direction if we keep electing the Left to positions of power because the Left is fascist at heart.

Is abortion moral? It’s rather telling when one side of the moral debate wants to ignore the most important question – what is being killed? – and focus on the will of the mother instead. It’s equally telling when that same side invents a host of euphemisms to obfuscate the issue including “women’s health, reproductive rights, choice, and termination of pregnancy.” When people avoid the main issue and use euphemisms to hide the truth of their actions from the public, you can pretty much bet that those people are on the wrong side of that issue.

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