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Showing posts from 2017

Review of Common Arguments for the Existence of God

What I want to do today is to write a brief summary of each of the arguments for the existence of God that I have come across in my studies; that seem to hold any water (I won’t be calling on the youtube video that argues for design just because a human hand can hold a banana). If I miss any that you believe to be a part of this review, please contact me and I will research the argument and update my post here.                 The Kalam Cosmological Argument https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CulBuMCLg0 – This argument focuses on the prime mover, or the uncaused first cause. The argument goes as such: everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist; therefore the universe has a cause. Dr. William Lane Craig is the biggest proponent of this argument, and further develops the characteristics of this prime mover and shows that the God of Christianity is the best fit for this uncaused first cause.                 The Contingency Argument https://w…

Miracles: Is Belief in the Supernatural Rational? (Updated November 2017)

What I want to do today is to come back to an older article that I wrote when I was first starting out as an apologist. I was recently discussing various topics with a friend of mine and we got to discussing a rather well written article about Carl Sagan and his quest to encourage science education and the philosophy that science will answer all of the questions that humanity has about the world. What you will find here is that original article that I have augmented with some of my thoughts after spending a few years maturing as an apologist. Before I get started, I guess the definition of miracle could be stated, since the word can be used for many different situations. From the Merriam-Webster website, the three definitions of miracle are as follows: 1) an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, 2) an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment, and 3) a divinely natural phenomenon experience humanly as the fulfill…

Are we smarter than our ancestors? Did they worship a God of the gaps? Does human nature ever change?

Plenty of people will try to prop themselves up on their own intellect by stating they are smarter than our predecessors. I see this idea pop up in multiple ideas, such as the ancient aliens hypothesis, or the ever-so-famous God of the gaps. I also wonder if people find that our nature, and our base desires ever really change. To the latter, I doubt that humans have changed at their core. To the former, I think that humanity has indeed increased their knowledge of the world, and some cultures did deify natural events, but I don’t think any culture is wiser than the other, and that Christianity does not provide a basis for the God of the gaps hypothesis. What I hope to do today is to untangle this series of questions and show that belief in God, specifically Christianity, does not come from a lack of knowledge or intelligence, but rather a lack of ability to save humanity from its own sinful nature. We all have a natural desire for life, and a natural intuition to know…

Will Science Answer Everything? (Updated October 2017)

Quite a few people have been convinced by the mass media that more science and education are the answer to everything, but is it really? Science is quite good at what it does, but it does have limitations and areas that its hands cannot reach.                 Now as I have stated before, I am a scientist, or at least a graduate student of chemistry, whichever title you would like to apply. I have no delusions about the limitations of science and where it cannot possibly reach. There are those who will have their own definitions of science, and honestly it is rather overused in the United States at least. Science is a field where hypotheses can be repeatedly tested to be proven or disproven. There are plenty of fields where science cannot carry out this rigorous testing and retesting, so I would not classify these fields as sciences. Take history for example, unless we figure out how to go back in time and verify events for ourselves, we are left with only the account…

People will never be satisfied with you the way you are, and neither is God

Welcome to my suspiciously titled post. It seems that no matter what we do, what stance we take politically, or what have you, the gremlins of social media will never be happy with us because they will always have some questions for us. Why don’t we support such and such cause, why don’t we denounce such and such group? These people will always want us to be taking their side or give them what they want to hear. They want to mold us into their selfish image for multiple reasons, be it needing to be always right, needing an echo chamber, not standing the idea of an opposing viewpoint, etc. Some of you may be expecting me to say that God is the same way and is the reason he pursues us and sends those awful door to door ministers to talk to you about Him, but you would be misguided. It is true that God pursues us, but he does not do it out of a selfish megalomania. God pursues us out of His infinite love and desire for fellowship with His creation. God tells us that we s…

We need to know the Person of God, not the Idea of God

In Colossians 2:8, we are told to not fall for the traps of the philosophy of men. There are those that take this verse, other pieces of scripture, and their own misguided view of faith to try and mean that we should not study philosophy, even as a means of apologetics. I believe that this is an extreme view, just as much as the extreme view of spending all of our time studying about God, but never really pursuing a relationship with God. While I am all for the study of apologetics, Dr. Ravi Zacharias puts it best, that apologetics are the seasoning, and the gospel of Christ is the main course. However, I want to unpack this a little bit more. What I want to do here is explore what it means to me to love God with all of our minds.                 We are told to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Mind is second in this list, but I think that it is very easily ignored by the majority of the church. In this age of secularism and reason, the church …

Pascal’s Wager, and Its Relationship to Current Apologetics

Blaise Pascal was a renowned scientist, and a profound Christian writer. He had many contributions to the scientific community, including the first digital calculator, a fundamental gas law, and had his name set to a unit of pressure. However, his contribution to the Christian community, in the form of what we call Pascal’s wager. Pascal’s wager says: If a person does not believe in God and God does not exist, then that person gains nothing. On the other hand, if a person does not believe in God and God actually does exist, that person stands to lose everything. The consequence for wagering incorrectly would involve an infinite loss (eternal exclusion from life with God, or hell). In terms of a cost-benefit analysis, the one who wagers against God has nothing to gain and everything to lose. Given these two options, Pascal logically asserts that the prudent person should wager on God. However, should this be a brute force method to shut down any sort of argument about …

We Need to Show People the Transformation from Christ, not Scream "You're Wrong!"

I’ve been mulling this one over for a while, and I think I can put it all onto paper now. I’ve been thinking specifically, about the testimony of the church as it relates to today’s issues. When I was younger, I had always heard the caricature of the church and Christians as uptight prudes who never smile because everything is sinful. While I think this one is easily dismissed if people will get to know Christians, it is the most recent description of church that troubles me. We are painted as hypocrites, we do not practice what we preach, which is one of the most common objections to Christianity. I just heard a video from the YouTube channel LutheranSatire that described the faith vs works dilemma that we see between Catholics and Protestants. What struck me is that we are justified before God by faith, but it is our works that show to other people that we are transformed Christians or not. If we are no different from the people that we are trying to convert, if the…

Is Christianity just a crutch philosophy? Or is it something more?

I’ve heard the argument, and I’ve indeed posted quotes about this, that people are Christians because they view it as a crutch philosophy. In a way, Christianity is a crutch, but not in the way critics and accusers, and even Christians with the wrong idea, think. We can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5), so our relationship with him is more of a wooden leg, rather than a crutch that we use only when we need help walking. We are called to lean on God, and not our own understanding. Christianity is here to answer some of the greatest philosophical questions of mankind, but as we are warned in Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ”. This would mean that we are not to be taken in by the appeal of ideas, but rather the person of Jesus. It is through the relationship with God through Jesus that we are saved…

Is it a Matter of Evidence, or of Personal Worldview?

When we look at different religions, and the various evidences for them, I would argue that Christianity has the most robust case in terms of historical and philosophical evidence. Given this, there are plenty of people who look at the evidence for the person of Christ and the claims of the Bible, and some are not convinced, and some wholeheartedly believe and give their lives to Jesus. We can look at the stories of many prominent Christians and Atheists, from multiple fields of study, and see that it is not a case of training or intellect, as the New Atheists try to push on religious people. We can see multiple examples of prominent scientists, philosophers, politicians, and just everyday people that we know on either side of the aisle. We as humans are generally pretty intelligent when we want to be, and we all have our own opinions about God and eternity. So what gives? Why, when confronted with the overwhelming evidence that confirms the historicity of the claims …

Where do Apologetics and Evangelism meet?

I think I have covered this type of question in passing, but people seem to think that apologetics and evangelism are miles apart when it comes to their disciplines and how they relate to Christian ministry. In fact, I think they are two sides of the same coin. I believe that in today’s culture, with the demand for sources for everything that we assert, that apologetics needs to be woven seamlessly into evangelism and vice versa.                 First, I would like to set my views on evangelism and apologetics. From what I seem to understand, evangelism is the spread of the gospel through our own personal testimonies and speaking from scripture. Apologetics comes from the greek word apologia, a legal term meaning “to give a defense”. This means that Christian apologists use evidence to give a defense for our faith, in obedience to 1 Peter 3:15.                 My problems with evangelism and apologetics are these. In my experience, apologists can fall into the trap …

What do you do when life feels hopeless/ if you have doubt?

I have recently, and have before, found myself falling into despair. Not because of my life being bad, it has never been better, but because of my own realization that this is temporary, and I have no idea what comes next. I am afraid of a question, what if there is nothing after? As a Christian, I know the answer that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and that we will be given new physical bodies in the New Jerusalem. Yet I worry still about the future. God has given us many commands to not be afraid, but here I am as a human. When this fear and panic hits me, I hit my knees and pray to God for peace. I read the Bible and hear his words and his promises.                 I realize in scripture that I am not the only one to have this agony. We can see this in the books of Job and Ecclesiastes. Solomon despaired of his life, and had found it all meaningless in that book. He concluded that even if it is all meaningless, we should rejoice in our …

Your Mission Field is All Around You, Are You Tending to It?

Jesus even said that the crop is ready, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). In my church that my wife and I attend has a sign as you leave the sanctuary “You are now entering your mission field.” We all are called to go and make disciples, so are you working on that mission? I try to work in the large and potentially hostile field of the internet, and maybe you do too. I also try and work in the real world where I can physically show the love that God has for his people. I admit that I don’t always do this, but I am convicted to try and do more. We as a church have gotten lax, at least in the United States, but I think this current social and political climate have gotten people stirring from their metaphorical chairs. We need to keep the love of Christ in mind though and be prepared to add to the discussions with love and respect (1 Peter 3:15). We may also see the church fall from it’s social majority position for the first time since the founding of the United …

How should the church reach out to the LGBT+ community?

I recently got into a rather heated discussion posted by a priest who wrote an article for TIME magazine that was saying that we need to accept the LGBT+ community in the church. I disagree with it based on the implied idea that the word accept brings to the table, that the church would be signaling that homosexuality and those forms of sexual immorality are ok. While the article itself was only talking about reaching out and welcoming the LGBT+ community into the church instead of excluding them like some churches are accused of, I doubt people were reading it fully and just running with the headline, much like I did in the first part of this paragraph. The question I want to pose is, how should the church reach out to the LGBT community? What I want to do here is to look at some scripture in the old and New Testament to show that homosexuality is indeed a moral sin, and not just a ceremonial law that was fulfilled when Christ came and that Christians are picking and…

13 Things Mentally Strong Christians Don’t Do

Don’t worry, this isn’t a topically late post about 13 reasons why. My mother and I were actually talking about a list she found on Linked in titled “13 Things Mentally Strong People don’t do.  It’s talking about mental habits that we should not do in a professional sense. We got to thinking how to apply this list to Christians, because we suffer from mental health problems like everyone else. What I would like to is to go through this list and apply scriptural principles to it and change the list to 13 Things Mentally Strong Christians Don’t Do. 1)They don’t stay in their comfort zone- Go and make disciples of men (Matthew 28:16-20). Jesus called his disciples from fishing boats, medicine, and tax offices to follow him and to spread the gospel. If we consider Paul, he was called from the religious Jewish elite to support a new faith that many were trying to kill, literally and figuratively. I can see this parallel with the Christians who are converts from Islam. 2)They don’t give in t…

Do the needs of the many, or the few, outweigh the needs of the one in the view of God?

Now that I have your attention with the Star Trek quote. Let’s seriously think about things. In the United States, everyone was talking about how Hilary won the popular vote and how she should have won because that was the democratic way. By the way, the United States is not a democracy but a constitutional republic so that the little guy is protected from being ruled by the big cities, but that is starting to get off topic from where I want to be tonight. I don’t want to go terribly political here, but instead that I want to talk about how God can value us all as a people, but still be able to care about us all as individuals. Allow me to bring a few examples from scripture to mind to show that God is indeed capable of this duality.                 We can look three parables that Jesus taught during his ministry to show that God does care about the individual and will do everything in his power to seek and save the one. First, we can look at the parable of the lost …

Is speech limited under Christianity? How does this compare to the First Amendment?

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk of censorship and talks of hate speech, offensive speech, and what should or should not be said. It’s got me thinking, as one who believes that political power needs to be with the individual, not centralized to some monstrous bureaucracy that some want to create and that we are seeing starting to come to fruition here in the US and in other countries across the globe. As an American, I worry for the First Amendment, which guarantees our right to free speech and free criticism of our government without fear or persecution by our peers or imprisonment by some tyrant. As a Christian, I worry for our freedom of religion and the free practice thereof, with a certain former presidential candidate saying that “Christians would have to change their beliefs”. As an apologist, I worry for the pursuit of truth and the dissemination of that truth. So let’s start at the root of this and take a look at scripture and answer a couple of questions, “Doe…

What roles should our Government be taking in protecting the environment?

Recently, the United States and multiple nations around the globe had marches in the name of Science after comments from President Trump that he was going to dissolve the EPA and has threatened federal science funding. Now, as a scientist who hopes to continue in a research position at a state school some day, this is a little concerning. I don’t think it is quite the nightmare scenario that people make it out to be, but I do agree that  if we stop research to move America forward then we will stagnate and continue to slip as a global leader. As a Christian my first allegiance is to the kingdom of God and its people, but we all serve on this Earth and we have commands to take care of it (Genesis 2:15, Proverbs 12:10, Revelation 11:18, Genesis 1:26, Proverbs 27:18, Numbers 35:33, Psalm 24:1). We have a command to take care of the Earth as it’s tenants, as I am expected to take care of the apartment that my wife and I rent right now. I have written before about how we a…