My advice to apologists is not meant to be all-inclusive, and it is not meant to be authoritative (on the level of William Lane Craig or Alvin Plantinga). Rather, it will simply be a collection of my observations and beliefs about some issues facing young, Christian apologists. Too often, we rush headlong into the project of apologetics without thinking some things through.
First, do not succumb to a type of “reverse confirmation bias.” I see this all too often. The young apologist, strengthened by his newfound intellectual rigor and study into Christianity, tends to believe that he can and will prove everything wrong. Continue reading
In 2003, the short-film Most made its way onto the big screen. The film shows the story of a single father who takes his son to work with him at the bridge which he tends. He was responsible for raising and lowering the bridge at the appropriate times to allow ships and trains to pass. One day as the bridge remained raised, a train approached an hour before schedule. After failing to get his father’s attention and warn him to lower the bridge for the quickly approaching train, the boy attempted to manually lower it on his own and accidentally fell into the gear-works that enabled to bridge to operate. Continue reading
Could people have a properly basic belief that God does not exist so that they do not need any other arguments or evidence for that belief in order to be justified in holding it?
A recent conversation reminded me of what is now a rather old argument in relation to the question of belief in God (old in terms of twentieth century arguments anyway). Essentially, the issue was this: If my purported experience of knowing God / knowing that God exists via some sort of intuition or any other sort of experience should count as a reason for me to believe in God, then why can’t somebody else’s atheist experience (or at least their testimony of it) count as a reason for me to not believe in God? I say that I have a direct knowledge of God’s existence (let’s say I do). But what about someone who has direct, intuitive knowledge of something like “there is nothing out there, there is no purpose at all to life”? Surely, it was suggested to me, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Continue reading
While on Facebook recently, I came across a picture that claimed to be outlining the differences between “Linear Thinking” (also known as “dualistic logic”) and “Systems Thinking (aka “holistic logic”).
It was presented from the perspective of approaches to teaching. The overall message of this particular Facebook page was that our educational systems should take a holistic approach and that the dualistic manner in which students are currently taught is deficient. Specifically, “Christopher” who posted the picture said:
This is a handout I made for a conference presentation entitled “New Paradigms in Education,” in 1997. I’d like to update it, maybe simplify and change some of the descriptions. Your feedback on what should be edited and what seems most interesting and important would be greatly appreciated.1
Upon reading through the “handout,” it became abundantly clear that it was really more of an advocacy piece than anything educational. The way it described “dualistic logic” used very negative terminology whereas “holistic logic” was presented in a positive, favorable manner.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
This passage in 1 John 5:1 brings us to a name God probably wants us to know Him by most and that name is Father. God is our Father and we are His children. 1 John 5:1 says that if we believe that Jesus is the Christ then we are born of God. By definition being born of God would make us sons and daughters of God. Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.” The importance of “Abba, Father” should be understood. Abba, Father is a very personal title for God which in the old Aramaic meant “my father.” Children in the Aramaic world would use “Abba” like we use the term “Daddy.”
Recently, I wrote about how and why we are failing our students. But, what does it mean to teach from a christian worldview? The foundation of the Christian worldview is the conviction that in Christ are “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). In other words, Jesus has the best information about everything. To live out a Christian worldview is to “think Christianly” about all of life. Here’s how I have tried to flesh out this conviction: Christianity actually rises to the level of being true or false (and there are good reasons to believe it’s actually true). And if Christianity is true, then it speaks to all of life; it makes a comprehensive claim on reality. “If Christianity should happen to be true – that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe,” said G.K. Chesterton, “then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true.”
In light of that, I teach with the following core commitments. Continue reading
(The following is based on a talk I gave two weeks ago to a Thinking Matters event and also at a church camp, which is why it’s not written like an essay or article. It was presented as the last in a series of talks on faith and reason.)
If I’m right, then faith in God – belief that God is real and trust that God makes a difference through Christ – is reasonable. There really are good reasons to believe. God makes best sense of moral facts. God best explains the origin and fine-tuning of the Universe. The historical facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth point us to God, and not just any God, but the God revealed to us in Jesus. As you know, there are other arguments. And when a Christian first discovers that there’s a thing called “apologetics,” that all these arguments are there to be used, the response can be excitement and enthusiasm. These are great arguments! Who wouldn’t be impressed by them?
Over-enthusiasm, however, can quickly be reduced to disappointment. Continue reading
Advocates of the presuppositional approach to Christian Apologetics have long hailed the debate between Greg Bahnsen (the late Christian theologian and apologist, noted for his achievements in presuppositional apologetics and development of theonomy–a view of the Law for Christians, pictured left) and Gordon Stein (the late secularist noted for his links to Free Inquiry among other things, pictured below, right) as a stirring triumph of presuppositional apologetics over atheism in a point-by-point debate. Recently, I listened to the debate and thought I would share my impressions here. Continue reading
One of my recent word studies in the NT texts involves the distinction of the greek “pneuma” (spirit), “sark” (flesh), and “psyche” (mind/soul).
The Hebrews as well as the 1st century Christian Jews had accepted these distinctions when defining the separate characteristics of the human being, which they believed was composed of these three elements.
As apologists, we rely very much on the “psyche” or the mind, in providing reasons for our faith. And as a consequence, we become very reliant on our reasoning and our ability to think and without our knowing, has largely affected the way we conduct ourselves as well as in making critical decisions, which should involve prayer. After all, we have submitted ourselves to the Eternal King who hears our prayers. Continue reading