I grew up unchurched and was pretty much an agnostic up through my twenties. Even though I got baptized as a teenager into the Presbyterian USA denomination, I did it more for social reasons than anything else. There was no great care taken to make sure I was in the faith. Most of my experience with church up until I was 26 years old was about teachings of being a nice person because Jesus was a nice person, or a focus on a bunch of seemingly (to me) unconnected details.
I have been posting apologetic type responses and material on the Internet now going on twenty years (on other types of ‘e-communication’ even before the Internet was popular). I don’t usually hang out in atheistic discussion forums, but instead try to inject some reasoned, and/or ‘salt & light,’ content into secular discussions when relevant. This often leads to discussion which I hope to be more helpful than the back-and-fourth one often finds. I have, however, had many people tell me this is a waste of time! Continue reading
I’m in the process of getting a Master’s in Philosophy. Right now, I’m taking a class on thesis writing and we’re working through the process of choosing a topic. Since I attend a Christian University, most, if not all, of the students are Christian. The thesis, however, as my professor said, has to be “purely philosophical.”
In this case, “purely philosophical” means that it can argue for the existence of an “unmoved mover” or a being that is the source of normative moral obligations, but cannot wander over into the field of apologetics, which would include things like making a case for anything specifically Christian. Arguing for the Judeo-Christian god is off-limits.
When challenged as to why our topic could not be more specifically apologetic, the professor replied that: 1) this was a philosophy thesis, not apologetics, and 2) that confining oneself to pure philosophy forces us to think like a philosopher, to hone our ability to use logic, reason, and well-constructed arguments so that anyone—regardless of their religious affiliation—would have to acknowledge the strength of our ideas.
I suppose I should first apologize for baiting you into reading this article with a catchy title. No, I don’t actually suspect the church is creating a huge number of atheists, as there simply aren’t that many of them (as vocal as they may be!). While their numbers are on the rise, they are statistically few. What I am going to argue the church is often creating, might be better called: apathetic unbelievers or quasi-believers who might retain some form of ‘spirituality.’ That, however, would have made for a long, boring title. But, I think that this is just as bad, maybe worse, than if these people were becoming atheists. Continue reading
CNN’s iReport recently carried a blog post entitled “Why I Raise My Children Without God” (which CNN says is the 2nd highest viewed post ever on their iReport site) by an atheist Texas blogger named TXBlue08. Her blog site, “Kids Without Religion,” is all about “raising kids as independent, logical thinkers”.
In her post, she put forth seven reasons why she’s decided to bring up her children without a belief in God. Being a Christian and a parent, I thought I’d work through each one of her arguments and explain why, as opposed to TXBlue08, I’ve decided to raise my children with God. Continue reading
In talking with skeptical students around Boston, I have learned that few things drive them as crazy as Christians with a blind faith. They are perplexed: “How can your core convictions be completely divorced from reason and logic?”
Three examples, just from the past year, illustrate the problem: Continue reading
in light of God’s grace, how might you steadily grow as an apologist? In particular, I want to talk with you about feeling overwhelmed. When we feel overwhelmed, how does God’s grace speak into our weakness and limits?
So, a quick recap: we launched this incredible series on January 1st with a challenge to be a community apologist. But a challenge without equipping is not realistic. And so an amazing, diverse team of contributors has provided some really incredible, totally free articles about how to actually do this, in daily life, with your limitations, because you love God and you care about your friends (and their doubts). Continue reading
For any lover of British humor Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a classic movie. The unique comedy of the film follows King Arthur and his knights as they search for the Holy Grail. As Arthur and his men draw closer to the end of their quest, they come across an old and dangerous footbridge guarded by an old man. In order to cross the bridge the brave knights have to answer three random and ridiculous questions. If they fail to answer correctly or have no answer at all, they fall into the ravine to their death.
This movie is not typically known to cause one to stop and ponder the deeper issues of life. Yet I believe the footbridge scene is a good example of how many people view apologetics and why they are afraid to share their faith.
If there’s one focus a Church should have, it’s on evangelism and missions. It’s almost a little redundant to separate those since missions, properly understood, is evangelism. If we’re truly doing the will of the Lord and making disciples of all nations, we can’t do that by giving people clean water without giving them the water of eternal life. We can’t give them bread to fill their stomachs without teaching about the bread from heaven who can fill their souls. We can’t provide shelter from the storm without telling the story of the One who has the power to calm the storms (and I’m talking about literal storms here, not “the storms of life”).
Throughout the month of January various posts are being published encouraging you to become a “community apologist.” A community apologist is helpfully defined here as, “someone with an interest in apologetics stepping up to the plate and making themselves available to teach apologetics in their church and community.” Maybe you see the validity and need for this, yet there is something, or some things, holding you back. I’ve been there myself. I’ve held back, procrastinating from fully stepping into this role. I’d like to share with you just a few of the personal obstacles that held me back from stepping up to the plate and how the Lord broke through them. Continue reading