About Maryann Spikes

Maryann Spikes is the original admin of the Christian Apologetics Alliance blog. She also blogs at Ichthus77. Maryann loves apologetics and philosophy, particularly all things Euthyphro Dilemma and Golden Rule. A para-educator (autism) for five years, she holds a Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, is a very part-time undergraduate student, and moonlights as a freelancer at Ichthus77.com.  You can follow her on Twitter @Ichthus77, connect with the Ichthus77 community on Facebook, or look her up on Google+.

Apologetics youth leader Q&A: What works?!

youthgroup_t_nv.220114305_stdI asked members of the CAA and subgroups: “If you lead a youth group that successfully incorporates apologetics, I need to know as soon as possible. I want to brag about your success to other youth pastors who seek info. on this. I need to know your style, as well.

This is what some of them answered—and this is just a small sampling of those who could have answered…I didn’t give them much advance notice!

[Note: At the end of this post you will find an invitation to do some Q&A with Brett Kunkle on how to equip youth!]

‪Mark S. Phillips‪ I lead a new high school apologetics group, ‪Maryann. We’re finishing our first half-year of existence. They seem really interested in what is presented; one student commented that all he ever learned in church was “Daniel in the lion’s den and Noah’s big old ark.” The students I have don’t know much in the way of doctrine, but they seem to be more interested in knowing they can use their brains in the faith. My main focus to-date has been the resurrection. But because the kids I have all seem to have grown up in church, I have taken time to present video testimonies of atheists who converted to Christianity and why they did so. They really enjoy the videos from exploreGod.com and also the Case for Christ. I’ve covered a bit on logical fallacies, arguments for the existence of God, understanding a world view that includes metaphysics, helping them to know they don’t have to be intimidated when someone challenges their worldview, and the exclusivity of Christ. Hope this helps. [Read more...]

Who needs answers when nobody’s askin’?

By Maryann Spikes. This is written to those of you who consider yourselves Christians but think you don’t need answers to tough questions because you don’t ask them and nobody asks them of you. I am thinking a lot about this and I’d love to hear if you think I am fully understanding where you are at. I want to know why no one is asking you questions, and here are my guesses:

If no one is asking you tough questions about what you believe, maybe it is because you aren’t telling many people that they are loved by God unconditionally*? There are a number of reasons people keep the gospel to themselves. Can you find yourself in the list below?

  • Unaware of your duty. You don’t know that you are unconditionally accepted by God, and you don’t know that the natural result of enjoying that acceptance is wanting to share it with others–and that we are commanded not to keep it to ourselves**. If this is you, find out more about God’s unchanging love for you and, once your cup is running over with it, share it around. There will be questions! [Read more...]

Poem: Does God allow evil and suffering?

img1367Does God allow evil and suffering?

Yes.
Can you look me level in the eyes
and tell me what some people do
to hurt little kids is not evil?

No.
Evil is real, but
how can someone
who doesn’t exist
allow anything?

Yes.
If evil is real,
then good is real.
But if good is real, what being
do you know
who is always good?
But here we are again.
Would a good God allow
evil and suffering?

[Read more...]

Does the evidence matter, or is it mere distraction?

if you love me wordleJPGWhat miraculous event would remove all doubt that God exists? I spent some time as an atheist in my early-to-mid twenties. I knew there was no convincing evidence for God’s existence. I didn’t buy the “God says it, I believe it, that settles it,” mantra, or the “Faith takes over where reason leaves off” stand-by. I still don’t, even after becoming a Christian.

Now I know the faith of the Bible is just trust. I know everybody in the Bible trusted a God who makes himself evident and keeps his promises. I know that believing without seeing is about believing before fulfillment, that God will fulfill his promise. I know, as C.S. Lewis knew (knows, really), that “Faith… is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” We humans too quickly forget what sort of God we are dealing with, and our faith falters, even in the midst of avalanches of evidence. Faith is not mere belief…even the demons believe.

[Read more...]

Defining the good: The Golden Rule

GR pic

http://www.pflaum.com

A major argument for God’s existence is that, if there is no God, there is no “true” good, because truth is that which corresponds to reality, to real being. A common counter-argument heard from atheists, agnostics, and skeptics is that this does not account for the definition of moral goodness. If God is the source of goodness, does he define what it means to be good via his commands (hence, it is fiction, not truth), or is it a standard he himself follows (hence, he is not the highest absolute)? In other words, theists cannot define goodness just by grounding it in God’s nature. True, but we don’t claim to.

When we do attempt to define goodness (a separate issue from its grounding), the skeptic’s counter-argument becomes that our definition of goodness would be true whether or not God exists. For example, a successful argument in favor of the Golden Rule means that the Golden Rule is true on its own two feet and does not need to be grounded in God. However—if God does not exist, to what is the Golden Rule true? What being in reality does it describe? So we need both—we need moral truth to be grounded in real being, and we need to know what it means to be good. Those more experienced in philosophy might recognize this is Plato’s “justified true belief,” Hume’s “is ought distinction,” and the resolution to Euthyphro’s dilemma.

Many apologists I come across claim that we don’t need to define goodness, but many skeptics view this as a cop-out. Therefore, this essay, rather than centered on grounding goodness, is centered on defining it (while also insisting it is not true unless grounded in real being). The Golden Rule will be stated out front, referred to throughout, and finally defended. [Read more...]