Category Archives: Everyday Apologetics

The Minimal Facts of the Resurrection

There is only one conclusion to reach.

The Minimal Facts of the Resurrection

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Mythicism and the Public Jesus of History

Mythicism and the Public Jesus of History

“Arguments for the nonexistence of the Jesus of history stumble over the public nature of much of the primary evidence. Jesus was observed by crowds of people, by friends and foes alike. The strongest evidence for the existence of Jesus is found in Paul’s letters to the Christians of Corinth and Galatia. In these letters, whose authenticity no one doubts, Paul describes his firsthand—and very public—encounters with two of Jesus’ original disciples, Peter and John, and with James, the brother of Jesus. Attempts to explain away this James as someone other than the brother of Jesus reveal the desperation of the mythicist approach to the evidence. It is important to remember that critics of early Christianity never doubted the existence of Jesus—they disputed His identity and significance. Modern critics should follow their lead.”

I Don’t Believe in Ford

The success of science sometimes leads people to think that because we can understand the mechanisms of the universe, then we can safely conclude that there was no God who designed and created the universe in the first place. This reasoning commits a logical error in that it confuses mechanism and agency. Consider a Ford motor car. It is conceivable that someone who was seeing one for the first time and who knew no science might imagine that there is a god (Mr. Ford) inside the engine, making it go. Of course, if he were subsequently to study engineering and take apart the engine, he would discover that there is no Mr. Ford inside it. He would also see that he did not need to introduce Mr. Ford as an explanation for its working; his grasp of the impersonal principles of internal combustion would be enough to do that. However, if he then decided that his understanding of the principles of how the engine worked made it impossible to believe in the existence of a Mr. Ford who designed the engine in the first place, this would be patently false. Had there never been a Mr. Ford to design the mechanisms, none would exist for him to understand. It is equally mistaken to suppose that our scientific understanding of the impersonal principles according to which the universe works makes it either unnecessary or impossible to believe in the existence of a personal Creator who designed, made, and upholds it.” — John Lennox (from, Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend)

This is one of several great quotes here:

12 Apologetics Quotes: Christianity, Critical Thinking, and the Life of the Mind

Imagine

“…And no religion too-hoo…”

Imagine the world that our atheist friends yearn for, the one they say is inevitably on its way because religion is going out of style like spats, and we have evolved past the need for it. Most everyone is a non-believer in religion, organized faith, the supernatural, or anything outside the materialist box.

Imagine the consensus is non-faith. Everyone agrees that there’s no God up in the sky, the universe randomly appeared out of nothing, and we human beings create our own moral consensus.

Freethinkers rejoice. We don’t talk about the fact that there’s no God anymore because it’s no longer a debate. It’s not even an issue.

Everybody thinks with crystal-clear lucidity. Insanity, gone. Reason for conflict or war, gone. Harmony and peace prevail because there’s no longer any spiritual conviction making people care about righteousness or goodness. Nobody’s invested in anything enough to have serious disagreement.

Cultural atheism is the societal religion. We have thrown off the shackles and taken off the blinders. Finally we can think freely.

Do we imagine that all non-believers are true non-believers?

Sure, there are some committed atheists who understand why they are atheists. They are devoted to the maintenance of societal consensus. Defenders of the truth. They teach. They disciple. Because it’s important.

Then, there are the unreflecting atheists who were born into their non-faith. They don’t think about it. They say the right things and they believe them because it’s what they’ve always been taught. Everybody thinks these things. They are cultural atheists who swim in the water they’re immersed in. Indeed there are many who call themselves atheist, but don’t understand their own worldview. They are nominal atheists without any real interest in the cause.

What do you think the ratio would be? And wouldn’t that be a lot like the world now, under the tyranny of superstitious religion?

And might there not be skeptics in the freethinking world? Heretics? One of the things acknowledged by that bygone antique, the Bible, is that all human beings are fundamentally self-seeking and contrary. There will be people who perversely insist that there is a God, He wrote us a book, He sent His only Son to earth as a man…even if they don’t mean it.

Here’s one illustration of the fact that non-belief can be as committed as belief:

In largely Muslim Pakistan, a taboo atheist subculture endures

The criticisms of the faithful by atheists include:

Why do millions of Christian people disagree? Why are there multiple denominations? Differences in doctrinal interpretation must mean that all doctrine is false. The conclusion is not at all logical. Because we’re not robots but freely-thinking humans, we experience our own separate journeys of learning the faith. If we were all mindless followers, wouldn’t our stories be nearly the same?

Or maybe there is that divide between believers: the vast numbers of nominal and the comparitively few committed believers. The news that anti-faith proponents can’t seem to digest: most people who might call themselves religious are nominal; the numbers of believers who have really invested, examined and intentionally adopted  are relatively few.

The Bible predicts that the world would be just so. The way is narrow, and few enter therein. Those who Christ will address with, “I never knew you” may not be speaking with authority or proper knowledge when they discuss their experience of the faith. Atheist apologists usually prefer to argue with the low-hanging fruit.

And if the current discourse of atheists on social media or mass media is any indication, that utopia where everyone goes about their lives relieved of the burden to acknowledge a god, free to finally act and think without the religious detour, finally able to arrive at some kind of real reasonable, natural stasis, will never happen. Because no atheist I have ever encountered seems able to dismiss God from his thoughts for a single second. The typical atheist is more invested in his awareness of the existence of God than most Christian believers I know.

When the atheist paradise arrives, the world may be filled with heretics and nominal atheists. And the few true believers will have the onerous task to keep orthodoxy alive.

For the record I hate that vapid song Imagine.

“…but some everyones are more equal than others”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages

Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes that:

“Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

It is this kind of intentionally vague statement that totalitarians throughout our history have used to establish control and shape societies according to their will.

I see the problem right away, don’t you? Who exactly is everyone? It should be obvious that any despotic body can exclude any group it would prefer from the “everyone” umbrella with ease. Human society has a long history of selective inclusion to the most favored status. Slaves, European Jews, Armenians, Hutus.

Although over 100 organizations and states argued for the right of the unborn to be recognized among that “everyone,” a UN body has excluded the unborn from any rights or protections which international law can recognize.

From https://c-fam.org/right-life-international/

The latest effort comes from the Human Rights Committee, one of the oldest and better known of the UN treaty bodies. The committee is drafting a legal commentary on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the Right to Life, one of the foundational human rights instruments, that categorically excludes children in the womb and denies their membership in the human family.

The Human Rights Committee has created a contradictory premise within a universal statement. According to the HRC, the right to obtain an abortion is far more significant than “the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

The progressive penchant (born of Marxist theory) is to present two rights as though they are in conflict, make the best use of that conflict, and then to pick a winner.

As though two universal human rights can be mutually exclusive.

In reality, the right of every human being to be regarded as a person should not stand in conflict with the right to reproductive healthcare. It seems logical that if a universal right and a non-universal right are in conflict, the non-universal right is void, or at least questionable. A particular right can be forfeit by its owner; a criminal forfeits rights as the penalty for his crime. But the unborn do not forfeit their rights–the HRC and many others declare that they never posses such rights at all.

Both rights–the rights to life and to reproductive healthcare–are life affirming, health affirming, good things.  But that argument as presented by our progressive death culture reveals much: the right to life does stand in conflict with the right to obtain an abortion.

The pro-abortion mind has been tenacious in its preference to present this moral dilemma as a struggle between two interests: the interest of the woman vs. the interest of the unborn fetus inside the woman. Note the entrenched exploitation in the attempt to divide the most intimate co-existence known to humankind.

After which, that mind declares that it does not acknowledge one party–the unborn fetus–as an interest which it must respect. Erase that person from the equation (which you have created)–et viola!–the only interested party is the woman.

And anyone who would deny her rights is perpetrating injustice.

The UN HRC body is a nonsensical entity until it is able to recognize, at the very least, that the plight of the pregnant woman is a plight which involves two persons. From that position, we could then move forward in an effort to ensure the rights of both persons in a realistic manner. As long as we must play pretend while making international declarations, we are making ourselves selfish children engaging in nonsense.

Our cause is to keep the reality of the personhood of the unborn child always before the world. We must not allow the world to erase, forget and ignore the rights of the unborn human child.

animal-farm-some-animals-are-more-equal

 

 

Social Media Reveals

When you can’t say hello to your high school friend after a couple decades without a disclaimer: “Even though we would not agree on politics or religion, I have decided to acknowledge your greeting”–you reveal a lot.

Word of advice, when you can’t even say hi to an old friend without establishing your tribal identity, you have joined a cult. You’ve given yourself over, body and soul, to a controlling party.

You’ve bought into identity politics and applied it to yourself. Peer acceptance is essential, and the virtue signal to the self is as necessary as air. In every social interaction, your identity must be validated.

I’ve been lectured to by a close relative, who actually knows me apart from any cultural caricature, who applied abusive accusations based on a cultural caricature which she supposed fit me. I wasn’t even the offender in this situation but I was close at hand.

I’ve been unfriended, post-hidden, and even once blocked (I was relieved about that one; the blocker was actually getting scary). All of this long after I announced that I would no longer make political comments. I no longer do; I decided that social media is for socializing with new and old friends. Sharing news and pleasantries, songs we like, amusing anecdotes from our lives, and re-connecting with long-lost friends.

But re-connecting can be deflating at times. Warm and funny friends in high school reveal themselves to be cold and distant. Greetings after 30 years need disclaimers. It’s not enough to be politics-free. I am not sufficiently deferential to the essential political consensus. I’m not in the tribe, and so social interaction will be impossible.

All this is very sad. We’ve turned over social reality to social media virtual-reality, and we mistake the one for the other.

 

 

 

 

Who Will Stand?

We are lost in an unfamiliar town. We are–all–looking for familiar reference points. But in our search for home, we are only getting more lost.

The world where we grew up is long gone. The world we felt we had mastered as adults is past. The world we recognized as changing quickly–but still secure–is quickly vanishing. The world you depended on just last year, obliterated by a furious need for quixotic social micromanagement, gone.

The culture of the left is imploding. Hollywood, no longer content with lecturing the Man and its audience, has turned its newfound strident sanctimony inward and is cannibalizing itself.

And the sanctimony will not be satisfied until every molecule of what we called culture–sports, entertainment, social media–is policed, weighed, and certainly found wanting. According to whose scale no one really knows.

Many commenters left and right have observed that progressive culture is eating itself as well. Upholding unexamined faith in a hundred contradictory premises is exhausting. The political left is splitting into increasingly smaller and increasingly self-important factions. Substitute tribes for families, congregations, and communities–and you get war.

Washington culture is sick and highly contagious. The political right is ineffectual because it is complicit.

Some on the right may cheer the downfall of the culture of the left. But let’s think about this for just a minute. What will replace it?

If it is true that our progressive elites are going down, if we are about to enter a new paradigm…what will that be? If it is true that the chickens have come home to roost, that the world that the change agents worked for is unsustainable, that the practically-atheist context is about to collapse under its own weight of illogic and to vanish in its thin moral vapor…

Are we who watched and shook our heads and abstained, we who prayed and criticized from the margins, we who talked good games about the world we would prefer…are we prepared to come into the vacuum and be what we were meant to be?

We gratefully accepted those margins because that little space gave us cover. It’s much easier to feel righteous when you can shake your heads at the unrighteous from the CCM-approved safe space.

Are we, the faithful, ready to take dominion over the earth, not in any political or socially-engineered sense, but as living representatives of the Creator? The people whom He has redeemed and called His own, the people who are called by His name, the people who He has commanded to represent who He is to an uncomprehending world—we have a calling. And it may be that, instead of hiding our lights under bushels in our contemporary Christian ghetto, we will soon have an opportunity to refresh the culture with His presence.

Are we ready?