Apologetics


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.

Those who won’t bend their knee to God typically won’t nod their head to truth either. By this, I mean that someone who is unwilling to acknowledge God’s authority over their life is not likely to acknowledge God’s truth either when that truth conflicts with their desire for self-autonomy.

So when we offer reasons and evidence for the truth of Christianity (an apologetic), and those reasons and that evidence are rejected by the unbeliever, it’s not necessarily because our reasons are bad or the evidence isn’t good (although, that’s not to say I haven’t heard bad arguments offered by Christians). It is simply the fact that the same will that is bent against God’s authority is also bent against God’s truth. If the unbeliever acknowledged God’s truth, they would also have to acknowledge that their continued rejection of God is based purely on their obstinate will. So instead, they reject that truth and continue to pretend that their rejection of God is based on intellectual merits. This is not a failure of apologetics, but a failure of the human will.

More than 80 fragments of Nahum and Zechariah (not all have text written on them) were recently discovered in the Judean desert. These are the first Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 60 years. Apparently, these fragments belong to a scroll of the Minor Prophets that was discovered in this same cave more than 60 years ago. That scroll, and these new fragments, are written in Greek rather than Hebrew. One of the interesting features of this scroll is that the name of God is written in paleo Hebrew, which is the ancient Hebrew script. Hopefully more scrolls will soon be discovered.

See:

Biblical Archaeology Society

The Jerusalem Post

In Meriwether v Hartop, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a professor who refused to call a student by his preferred (feminine) pronouns (see Law & Crime for the backstory to the case). The 3-panel court ruled that this violated both his free speech and religious rights. This is a big win for those advocating for both common sense and free speech in regards to preferred gender pronouns.

Language is sexed. Pronouns are meant to match one’s biological sex, not their personal sense of gender identity. If a biological boy thinks of himself as a girl, that’s fine, but he remains a biological male nonetheless, and as such, according to the English rules of grammar, should be referred to with male pronouns. In the same way the boy has a right to think of himself as a girl, we have a right to use language the way we see fit – which, in this case, accords with both biological reality and the rules of English grammar. No one should be compelled to use certain speech or deny biological reality.

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If you haven’t heard of the story regarding the dad jailed for calling his trans-son “daughter” and using female pronouns, you need to. He was arrested for “family violence.” While this happened in Canada, given the trajectory in the U.S., it won’t be long before this kind of thing happens here as well. Indeed, we are on the precipice of this happening here already.

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There are differences of opinion regarding whether it is moral or beneficial for transgender people to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Regardless of where you land in that debate, everyone should be able to agree that it is unfair to allow “transgender women” (biological men who identify as women) to compete in women’s sports.

This is not about equality, but fairness. Biological males have clear physical advantages over biological females, guaranteeing that transgender women will beat all or most biological women in sports. That is why we have always separated sports by sex. Allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sports is not fair to biological women. They practice and train for years to be the best among women, only to be beaten by a biological male.

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When in a discussion, I tend to be quick to note my disagreement when someone says something I disagree with. I am prone to immediately launch into all the reasons I think they are wrong, followed by presenting and arguing for my own point of view. Unfortunately, this is not the best approach to resolving disagreement.

The mantra I am trying to live by is “make them justify before you falsify.” What does this mean? Before you ever attempt to falsify someone’s belief or statement, ask them why they think it is true. Why do they believe what they believe? What reasons do they have? The burden of proof is always on the person making the claim. It’s not our job to show why they are wrong, but their job to demonstrate that they are right.

If you pause a moment to make them justify their claim, you’ll often find that they have little-to-no justification, or that their reasons are quite bad. Once they realize that they have no (or poor) justification, they will likely be more open to your critique of their view as well as your own view. So the next time you are tempted to voice your disagreement, make them justify before you falsify.

If you think the only argument against abortion is a religious argument, please examine the pro-life case more closely. While a religious argument can be made, it is not necessary. The pro-life argument stands or falls on biological facts plus philosophical/moral reasoning. It’s very simple:

(1) It’s morally wrong to kill innocent human beings without proper justification (the philosophical/moral premise)
(2) The science of embryology demonstrates that a new, distinct human being comes into existence at conception (the scientific premise)
(3) It follows from (1) and (2) that abortion kills an innocent human being
(4) Therefore, abortion is morally wrong

If you are going to argue for abortion, you’ll need to falsify one of the first two premises above. Will you deny the moral truth that it’s wrong to kill innocent human beings, or will you deny the scientific facts of embryology?

Abortion is often compared to the practice of child sacrifice practiced by many ancient cultures, including those in OT times. It is not a 1:1 comparison, of course. Those who get abortions are not doing so for religious reasons, and the age of the children are different. However, in both cases, human beings are choosing to kill their own children. God hates murder, whatever the reason or the age of the victim.

I find it interesting, then, that God not only condemned those who committed child sacrifice, but also those who stood by silently and did nothing to those who sacrificed their children. Consider Leviticus 20:1-5. God begins with a condemnation of those who commit child sacrifice:

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When discussing Christianity with a non-Christian, it’s not uncommon for them to dismiss the call to discipleship by saying, “I’ve tried religion and it didn’t work for me.” There are a number of questions you could ask when hearing such a statement.

First, “What religion(s) did you try?” There are many different religions, and most are as different as night and day.

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