Godbuster: A Debate With Elliot George

This week I engaged in a radio debate with an atheist on Unbelievable on Premier Christian Radio (which you can listen to here). My interlocutor was a British atheist, a retired biology teacher who goes by the pseudonym Elliot George. In his book, Godbuster, George attempts to dismantle theistic belief. I knew when I saw the front cover that the book was unlikely to be particularly professional or intellectually challenging. After all, who writes “Dare you read this?” on the front cover of an intellectually serious piece of work? This initial impression was further compounded when I noticed that the book contains no citations or references, except for the occasional in-text citation to YouTube or Wikipedia. Apparently Elliot George was even reliant upon Wikipedia as his source for the ten commandments (p. 125).

The intellectual content of the book is also confronted with severe problems. The book showed little, if any, engagement or interaction with high-level Christian argumentation. No serious Christian arguments were addressed by the book. Instead, George throughout the book persists in attacking strawmen, even redefining terminology to comport with his position. [Read more...]

“Doth God Care For The Oxen?” – The Biblical View

John W. Loftus, in his recent book, attempted to make the case that the Bible does not value animals, and that the Bible and its authors would condone animal cruelty. The opposite is true. As I demonstrated in my recent debate with him, the Bible is very much concerned for the welfare of the animals, and Loftus’ view otherwise is founded in various misunderstandings regarding scripture.file000302142745

[Read more...]

What Is Faith Really?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have been interested in reading the reaction to the debate between Dr. Tim McGrew and Dr. Peter Boghossian. I listened to the debate, and one thing struck me as particularly odd. There was a lot of time spent from the side of Dr. Boghossian discussing what he believes the majority of Christians in the 21st century mean when they refer to faith. However, I don’t believe that the topic of the debate was simply an issue that would be solved by Gallup. The topic in question is whether or not faith is a bad epistemology. In other words, the debate was supposed to be about the issue of whether or not faith is a bad “way of knowing.”

Those two questions could not be more different. In fact, I think that small example involving Dr. Boghossian might illustrate the difference. [Read more...]

What Did the Disciples See?

 

Introduction

When it comes to the Christian faith, there is no doctrine more important than the resurrection of Jesus. Biblical faith is not simply centered in ethical and religious teachings. Instead, it is founded on the person and work of Jesus. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, we as His followers are still dead in our sins (1Cor.15:7). Explanations try to show how something happened. That is, what is the cause for something that has happened. As I have noted elsewhere, the resurrection story started very, very, early. Also, there is an excellent post on the empty tomb issue over at Wintery Knight’s blog.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what explains the resurrection appearances. First, let’s observe the list of appearances:

• Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, shortly after his resurrection (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18)
• Jesus appears to the women returning from the empty tomb (Matthew 28:8-10)
• Jesus appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12,13; Luke 24:13-35)
• Jesus appears to Peter ( Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)
• Jesus appears to his disciples, in Jerusalem. (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23).
• Jesus again appears to his disciples, in Jerusalem. At this time Thomas is present (John 20:24-29).
• Jesus appears to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 28:16; John 21:1,2)
• Jesus is seen by 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6)
• Jesus appears to James ( 1 Corinthians 15:7)
• Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20).
• He appeared to his disciples (Luke 24:50-53).
• He appeared to Paul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

I will go ahead and offer some comments from various scholars and what they say about the appearances and the experiences of the disciples: [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...]