About Jonathan McLatchie

Jonathan has been a Christian since 1996, having had the privilege of being raised in a Christian home. He has become interested in Christian apologetics over the last 4 or 5 years. He holds an honors degree in Forensic Biology, and a Masters (M.Res) degree in Evolutionary Biology. He is a proponent of the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID), about which he has written extensively on Evolution News & Views and Uncommon Descent, in addition to being involved with the Centre for Intelligent Design UK. He is also a contributor to various apologetics websites, including CrossExamined.org, AllAboutGod.com, and GotQuestions.org. He has participated in a number of summer internships: those have been with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, with AllAboutGod in Colorado Springs, and with Frank Turek in Charlotte. He is also a graduate of the CrossExamined Instructor Academy (CIA) and the Discovery Institute's student summer seminar program. Outside of his academic interests, he is also a tournament chess player, with a FIDE (International Chess Federation) rating of 1855.

New Testament: Reliable or Myth? South Caroliners Mark Your Calendars for August 13th!

me_interviewIs the New Testament reliable or is it just a bunch of man-made myths? That is the question I am going to be tackling in South Carolina in just a couple weeks’ time! There will be time for you, the audience, to ask questions after my presentation.

The event will take place on Wednesday August 13th at 7pm in EDT at the BCM Ministry Building at Winthrop University: 620 Oakland Avenue, Rock Hill, South Carolina.

The event is being organized by Ratio Christi at Winthrop University in partnership with Park Baptist Church.

You can find the Facebook events page here. Don’t miss out — mark your calendars now!

Does One Need To Investigate Every Religion Before One Can Conclude That Christianity Is True?

truthRecently, I had a conversation with a friend concerning epistemology (how we come to know certain ideas to be true) and religious propositional claims. My friend asked me how I could be so confident that the evidence supports Christianity when I have not investigated every other religion to find out whether they have any evidence going for them.

This is a common talking-point that I encounter in discussions with atheists. “Have you read the Qur’an?” I am frequently asked. In the case of the Qur’an, I can claim to have read it and I have in fact studied Islam in significant depth. But I have not taken the time to study every religion in comparable detail. Does that mean I cannot conclude Christianity to be true and all other religions to be false? Of course not. By the very nature of concluding that the propositional claims of Christianity are true, one is de facto excluding other possibilities. If, for example, one concludes based on the evidence that Jesus really claimed to be divine (as I argue here), one has excluded as an option all religions that insist that Jesus did not claim to be God (such as Islam). Likewise, if one concludes based on the evidence that the Universe had a definite beginning in the finite past, one has excluded as an option all religions that assert that the Universe is eternal in the past (i.e. pantheistic religions). [Read more...]

The Penalty For Apostasy According to Islam

Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic scholar and writer, wants us to believe that Islam does not demand a death penalty for apostasy. Although he concedes that the ahadith reports Muhammad to have said  “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him,” (Sahih Al-Bukhari volume 9, book 84, no. 57) and other words to similar effect, Ramadan argues that such a penalty was to be applied only in cases of hostile or subversive attacks against the Muslim community, where perhaps an apostate would join the enemies of Islam, thereby committing treason. Ramadan concedes that his view that a Muslim is free to change his religion has been rejected by the vast majority of Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history.

Ramadan also issues a challenge to provide an example of Muhammad ordering a person’s death as a consequence of apostasy. Providing such an example is not difficult.  [Read more...]

Introducing “Treesearch”: A Novel Apologetics Website

treesearchImagine equipping everyone in the world with something like a pocket-apologist, an Artificial Intelligence available to present for you customized evidences supporting Christianity and to offer instant scholarly answers to complex questions. Well, it looks like a website is in development to do something like this. It is called “Treesearch” (treesearch.org) and seems like it will be a pretty novel apologetics debate encyclopedia. The content branches out debate points and counter-points (green vs. red) in a way that simulates dialogue, which makes navigation surprisingly intuitive, fast, and even fun. I will also say this: you can tell that it is being designed with smart phone users in mind, which could be really effective for experienced and lay apologists in the field (e.g. here is a more developed section so you can see how it opens up). It seems full of potential, and I look forward to seeing how it will grow.

On Miracles and Historiography: Can The Supernatural Ever Be The Best Explanation?

Anyone who has engaged in or interacted with any public discourse on the subject of miracles in the New Testament (especially the resurrection) will have encountered this objection: How can an historian infer that a miracle is the best explanation of historical data, given that supernatural phenomena are, by their very nature, extremely improbable? One might grant that the mass hallucination hypothesis as an explanation for the purported postmortem sightings of Jesus is immensely improbable — but surely it has to be less improbable than the proposition that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. Thus, it is argued, any hypothesis which purports to explain the pertinent evidence, no matter how improbable, is a better explanation than invocation of the supernatural.

In his book Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them), the agnostic textual critic and notorious critic of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, summarizes the problem (pp. 174-175): [Read more...]