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EQUIPPED Vol. 1 No. 1: In The Beginning – Evidence for the Existence of God

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 3.13.05 PMEQUIPPED – A CAA Quarterly

Vol. 1 No. 1: EQUIPPED 1.1 2014-10

The Christian Apologetics Alliance Statement of Faith is the foundation for the overarching topics on which issues of EQUIPPED are themed. Appropriately, EQUIPPED begins:

In The Beginning – Evidence for the Existence of God

With much prayer, we invite you to find a comfortable place to fill your mind with the truth of Jesus Christ, so that you, too, may be EQUIPPED.

—Glen Richmond, Editor EQUIPPED

Understanding the arguments in God’s not Dead: Part III of III

1938081_10102107087661352_1599973938_nIn part one we looked at Professor Radisson’s arguments in detail, and in part two we dug into Josh’s first and second lectures to his class.  In the final part we will discuss the final talk, and the importance of Philosophy for Christians.

Josh’s third lesson begins with the problem of evil and suffering.  This is one of the most difficult questions for the Christian to answer.  However, I do not think we are without anything meaningful to say on this subject.

The most basic form of the objection to God’s existence based on evil is this:

1. If God is all powerful, then He can prevent evil from happening.

2. If God is all loving, then He would want to stop evil from happening

Therefore, since evil exists, an all powerful and all loving God must not exist.

This, at least at first glance, seems to be a pretty good reason to believe that God does not exist, especially since it seems to be the case that if the premises (statements one and two) are true, then the conclusion does seem valid.  So what can the Christian say at this point? [Read more...]

Ask the Alliance: What about animal pain and the violence in nature?

question-mark-300x199::Ask the Alliance #10::: Does God permit torture?

Question submitted by Steve: Have any apologists spoken about the problem of animal pain (nature being “red in tooth a claw”)? It is hard to understand the violence of the natural world (which includes us) in relation to the character of God. Is the violence of nature strictly a result of the fall? How do the theistic evolutionists make sense of this aspect of the physical world?

Steve, thank you for your question. This answer is going to be lengthy, as it is taken directly from our dialogue in The Christian Apologetics Alliance:

Nicholas Olsen: WLC’s Q&A comes to mind (#113, #134, #242, #243, #355). The problem of animal pain according to how WLC answers it, is transporting our emotional and physical experience onto animals. WLC believes that animals do not experience pain in the same way or think of it in an existential way either. I think the scientific evidence he cites regarding animal consciousness is from Micheal Murray, but I could be wrong.

C.S Lewis has an analogical story about a bear experiencing pain, where he describes only the material sensations with no capacity to dwell on it. Both WLC and C.S Lewis in this instance would probably say that the “problem of pain” is a misplaced problem, because we’re importing our thoughts/emotions/feelings of painful experiences onto them as if they think the same when they really don’t. [Read more...]

Understanding the arguments in God’s not Dead: Part II of III

986643_10102107087676322_1471948263_nIn part one we looked at the arguments advanced by Professor Radisson, now we come to the arguments Josh put forward as he took the floor.

The first argument Josh talked about is called the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.  This comes in many different versions, all of which have interesting aspects.  Yet all of them have in common the idea of a first cause, particularly of the Universe.  Common questions along these lines are, “Why is there something rather than nothing?  Where did everything come from?  What caused this or that thing to happen?”  With any one thing of which a person might ask these questions, most of the time the same question can be asked about the answer just given. 

Where did these chips come from?

Potatoes.

Where did the potatoes come from?

The potato farm.  Etc.

The idea here is much like a row of dominoes that have been set up and subsequently knocked down.

What knocked over this domino?

The domino before it.

And what knocked over that domino?

The domino before it.

But what knocked over the first domino?  This becomes the really important question.  When dealing with the Universe, the question is, what started the Universe off?  The answer is God.  “Wait, that seems too easy,” you might say.  Someone may ask, as one young lady did in the movie, “Who created God?”  This brings up a really important question, “If everything has a cause, then what caused God.”  The answer put forward by Josh, though stated quickly and simply, is a powerful one.  “Christians don’t believe in a created God.”  Here is a more in depth version of that idea. [Read more...]

Understanding the arguments in God’s not Dead: Part I of III

10152718_10102107087671332_1810004460_nSPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the movie yet, I suggest doing so before reading this.  While what I say here will not totally take away the fun of watching the movie, it may diminish your enjoyment to a certain extent.  I recommend seeing and supporting it in order that more movies like it may be produced.

So, you have seen the movie and you were intrigued by the arguments put forward in the classroom, but maybe the arguments went by a little quick, or maybe you just want a little more depth.  There is a lot of depth to be found in these argument, and in some cases, hundreds of years of thought behind what Josh put forward in the classroom, most of which would have been very familiar to his Philosophy professor.

The movie has certain elements and story-lines that interweave their way through the picture.  Some people’s lives are going well, while others are not.  Much like many other decidedly Christian movies, there is the stereotypical Atheist who seems all too eager to destroy Christian belief, but gets turned around by some event in life.  In many ways that is the character of Amy, who in her emotional distress,  begins to consider God.  When faced with the possibility of losing her life, she turns to the Creator.

The Character of Professor Radisson is different.  While ultimately it seems his Atheism was the result of an emotional trial, he, like many others, has found reasons, arguments, and evidence that he feels give the Atheist position the upper hand.  Too often I believe that we as Christians dismiss such intellectual arguments as a mere facade, a mask worn to cover the real reasons why people do not follow God.  This is much to our detriment.  While it may be the case that some Atheists ultimately believe what they do for emotional or moral reasons (wanting sexual freedom, etc.), the arguments they use can be legitimate and major barriers to coming to Christ.  These arguments can also lead to unprepared Christians losing their faith when confronted by Atheistic ideas.  Therefore, we must be prepared to give a well reasoned and well though out defense of our faith as Josh did in the movie, and as the Apostle Peter told us to do in I Peter 3:15.  [Read more...]