Conversation with a Hindu friend

I had a conversation while I was at a Hindu friend’s house for a birthday party last night.  This friend of mine is not a real religious Hindu, but more of a cultural Hindu, who respects it as his family (and wife’s) religion and tradition.  We had quite a long conversation (over an hour) about the existence of God, the Christian faith, etc.  Here are some of the objections he was raising:

  1. Religion was created by men to control people – it is all made up. You’ll burn in hell if you don’t behave according to what this book says.  Jesus is always watching you.  Interestingly, he mentioned that Hinduism does have a concept of hell, and hellfire as well. He said that this is only experienced by humans (not other life forms) who do something terribly wrong, let’s say murder, then you go to eternal hellfire. I told him but that was the first time I’ve ever heard that. His wife, who was sitting there, but not involved in the conversation, confirmed it.
  2. He complained that some of these “people in religion” (the leaders) are smooth talkers and they manipulate people for their own benefit (private planes, big houses, etc.)
  3. I asked him to forget about “religion” for a second and focus on whether God exists. He said that he sees no evidence that God exists.  However, I was finally able to convince him that it was reasonable to believe that a Creator of the universe and life exists (via the cosmological and design arguments), but then he said, “OK, so if God did create the universe, so what?”  I said if there is a Creator, then we ought to try to know Him and determine if He’s revealed Himself to mankind.
  4. He questioned why there is only life here in the universe, since the universe is so big. Why do you need this big universe if you’re only going to have life here?  It was not clear whether he truly believed that there was no other life in the universe, but I think it may’ve been more of a critique of the Christian view of God creating this gigantic universe to only have life in one galaxy and one planet out of billions.
  5. We had a discussion about science and Christianity. I mentioned that many of the scientists of history were Christians, I named Newton, Copernicus, Galileo and that there were many others. The reason they studied science passionately was because they believed that God created the universe and it was meant to be understood by us because it operated in an orderly, law-like fashion, according to the laws of nature, physics, chemistry, etc. Since nature operates according to such predictable laws (e.g. we can land a rover on Mars because we can so accurately predict the path of the planets around the sun), it is reasonable to believe that these laws of nature had to be given by a “Law Giver”.
  6. He asserted that all religions are the same. He questioned the story of Jesus coming to Israel.  Why did he come at that time and only one place?  He said, if he was a god, he would’ve came to every continent (basically, I think he was saying he would’ve made his existence irrefutable).  He asked, was Jesus a messenger? Why did He come to earth?  I replied that He came to seek and to save lost humanity.  Yes, He was a messenger also, in the sense that He taught and healed people, but he didn’t just come as a messenger.
  7. In response to me telling him something that Jesus said, he also said, “No one can know what Jesus said”.
  8. He said, “How do you know what is the true religion? Many people wrote down books from other religions.  How do we know Bible is true over those?”  When he said that other religions have their books too, I contrasted the Bible, which was written by 40 authors over a period of 1500 years – these authors were different types of people such as fisherman, shepherds, military generals and kings writing at different times in history and locations in different geographical locations.  However, they were all writing a single, consistent message throughout the Bible. He asked “Why should I believe them more than the writers of other religions? For example, Islam…”  I answered, “Yes, Islam, where Muhammad is the only person that supposedly received that message over a period of 23 years in a cave from an angel – and we just have to believe him?”  I continued, “The same thing regarding Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism, who claims to have had a vision of Jesus and God the Father and claims to have been given ancient golden plates containing a divinely inspired message?  Believing 40 different eyewitnesses to historical events is much more reasonable than believing religions that are based on the private vision of one individual with no other corroboration.” At this point he took exception because, he said, “Mormonism is Christian”. I said no, it is not.  They separated themselves from other Christians initially, and said that all existing Christian denominations were heresy. He challenged me, “Mormons believe in Jesus Christ right?” I said yes but, they don’t believe in the same Jesus that is described in the Bible – that Jesus is the one true God. In addition to that, they have a separate scriptures called “The Book of Mormon”, which does not agree with the Bible.
  9. He thought that Christianity started when Jesus came, two thousand years ago. But I corrected him that the Bible starts at the beginning of creation. The first sentence of the Bible is “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. He was confused and said who wrote that part? I mentioned that Moses wrote the first five books the Bible that include the account of creation. He asked, “So, Moses wrote about Jesus?” I told him yes that he and other Old Testament writers predicted the coming Messiah. The Bible contains over 300 prophecies of the coming Messiah, most of which are fulfilled in Jesus.
  10. He complained about injustices in the world. He gave the example of a faithful Christian couple who has a child with birth defects and then lives “a life of hell”.  Why isn’t their God taking care of them?  And people talk about how God has a plan, God loves you, but meanwhile, people go on suffering greatly (I’m paraphrasing – I can’t remember exactly).

During our conversation, he was a bit of a steamroller – but a friendly steamroller.  But he hardly allowed me to get any words in – he just kept bringing up objection after another – and if I got a chance to answer an objection, he would just move on to another objection.

He has agreed to have lunch to discuss this more.  I told him that he should come to lunch with me another Christian friend of mine (who he also knows from a company we worked at together) and he sounded interested.

At the end of our conversation, I asked if he would be willing to read a book.  He said yes.  I gave him a copy of a book I just happened to have in my car: Is God Just a Human Invention and Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists.  I asked him to just devote an hour or less and read chapter 1 to start.  He said he’s “lazy to read”, but said he would do it (I don’t have confidence that he will).

Please pray for my friend that this conversation would get him to think and consider whether he is wrong in his worldview and for another chance to continue the conversation.

 

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mid-week apologetics booster (6-27-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1100) from Nuggets:

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.

– Elie Weisel, Jewish Holocaust survivor

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Ex-Atheist Dr. Sarah Salviander Destroys Atheism with One Tweet | Faith: https://pjmedia.com/faith/ex-atheist-dr-sarah-salviander-destroys-atheism-with-one-tweet/
  2. Erwin Lutzer lays out 5 false gospels within evangelical churches – The Christian Post: https://www.christianpost.com/news/erwin-lutzer-lays-out-5-false-gospels-within-evangelical-churches.html
  3. Good Question for the Next Darwinist You Meet | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2019/04/good-question-for-the-next-darwinist-you-meet/
  4. The Other Side of the Good News: Hell: https://thinkdivinely.com/hell/
  5. Does it matter that Buddha came long before Jesus? | CARM.org: https://carm.org/does-it-matter-that-buddha-came-long-before-jesus
  6. Why The Gospels Don’t Call Jesus God – Lucas’ Theological Novelties and Apologetics: https://lucsnovelties.com/2019/05/20/why-the-gospels-dont-call-jesus-god/
  7. Want Gospel Opportunities? Embrace Opposition.: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/gospel-opportunities-opposition/
  8. The dumbing down of America – Dr. D. James Kennedy: https://youtu.be/V96cpOj3xk8
  9. Crazy Bible: https://youtu.be/z0-Q3Jl7vng
  10. The Atheist Delusion: https://youtu.be/ChWiZ3iXWwM
  11. A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution | Uncommon Descent: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-world-famous-chemist-tells-the-truth-theres-no-scientist-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/
  12. Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement – bethinking.org: https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/six-enemies-of-apologetic-engagement
  13. What were the Inquisitions?: https://www.gotquestions.org/inquisitions.html
  14. Poolside Apologetics – Straight Talk with Claudia K: http://straighttalkwithclaudiak.com/poolside-apologetics/
  15. 5 Examples Why Agnostic Bart Ehrman Is Not a Gospel Expert – Lady Apologist: https://ladyapologist.com/2018/10/17/5-examples-why-agnostic-bart-ehrman-is-not-a-gospel-expert/
  16. Trend-line of Scientific Discovery Points To A Creator: http://natureandscripture.blogspot.com/2019/06/trend-line-of-scientific-discovery.html?m=1

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. Revelation 10:1

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (6-20-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1000) from Nuggets:

Every other person who is at the heart of any religion has had his or her beginning either in fancy or in fact. But nevertheless, there is a beginning. Jesus birth in Bethlehem was a moment preceded by eternity. His being neither originated in time nor came about by the will of humanity. The Author of time, who lived in the eternal, was made incarnate in time that we might live with the eternal in view. In that sense, the message of Christ was not the introduction of a religion, but an introduction to truth about reality as God alone knows it. To deny Jesus message while pursuing spirituality is to conjure an imaginary religion in an attempt to see heaven while sight is confined to the earth. That is precisely what Jesus challenged when he said, I have come that [you] may have life (John 10:10). His life spells living. Your life or my life, apart from Him, spells death. – Ravi Zacharias

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Christianity Shaken To Its Core As Atheist Refers To God As ‘Magic Invisible Friend’ | The Babylon Bee (very hilarious satire): https://babylonbee.com/news/christianity-shaken-core-atheist-refers-god-magic-invisible-friend
  2. Renewing Your Mind | Four Possibilities – R.C. Sproul walks through a famous apologetic method first established by Augustine.: https://renewingyourmind.org/2019/06/15/four-possibilities?utm_content=buffer51f2d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer
  3. When Church Is Optional, You Set up Your Kids to Fail: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/programming-your-children-to-fail-sunday-church/
  4. Indian Christians on Edge. Two weeks ago, Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second term as Indias Prime Minister. His party, the BJP, won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections. As Indian pundits a word that is, by the way, of Indian origin will tell you, if Modi and the BJP were the obvious winners, their political rivals, the Congress Party, were the big losers. But theres another potential loser in these elections, one that should especially concern American Christians, and thats Indian Christians. – Break Point: http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/06/breakpoint-indian-christians-on-edge/
  5. Ten Ways grown-up Christians can set a better example for Gen z on social media: https://www.impact360institute.org/articles/ten-ways-grown-up-christians-can-set-a-better-example-for-gen-z-on-social-media/
  6. Hillsong Church Affirms Full Pro-LGBTQ Position As They Hold Their One World Religion Alpha Conference Featuring A Roman Catholic Mass Now The End Begins: https://www.nowtheendbegins.com/hillsong-church-affirms-full-pro-lgbtq-position-hold-one-world-religion-conference-featuring-a-roman-catholic-mass/
  7. Origin Of Life-Evolution Achilles Heels – Media Center – creation.com: https://creation.com/media-center/youtube/origin-of-life-evolution-achilles-heels
  8. Mark Zuckerberg says hes no longer an atheist, believes religion is very important – The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/12/30/mark-zuckerberg-says-hes-no-longer-an-atheist-believes-religion-is-very-important/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4c23a52215bb
  9. Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews Follow the Same God? | Grounds4Faith: https://grounds4faith.com/2019/05/15/do-christians-muslims-and-jews-follow-the-same-god/
  10. How Evidence Helps Doubters Become Devotees | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/how-evidence-help-doubters-become-devotees/
  11. Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/distinguishing-marks-quarrelsome-person/?amp&__twitter_impression=true
  12. Unmarried 35-year-old woman reflects on her adventurous life of fun, travel and serial cohabitation | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2019/06/16/unmarried-35-year-old-woman-reflects-on-her-adventurous-life-of-fun-travel-and-serial-cohabitation-2/
  13. JP Moreland: No further scientific discoveries could make the statement true – The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network: https://www.thepoachedegg.net/2018/10/jp-moreland-no-further-scientific-discoveries-could-make-the-statement-true.html
  14. New Science Uprising Episode: Programming Without a Programmer? | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2019/06/new-science-uprising-episode-programming-without-a-programmer/
  15. Pastor dialoguing with women regarding abortion: https://youtu.be/aiyHYjFcX50
  16. Are Top Scientists Overwhelmingly Atheists? – Randal Rauser: https://randalrauser.com/2013/06/are-top-scientists-overwhelmingly-atheists/
  17. Quick Shot: The Bible condones slavery – how to answer quickly and concisely: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/quick-shot-the-bible-condones-slavery/
  18. Pre-Pauline Creeds and Hymns Cyber Penance: https://cyberpenance.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/pre-pauline-creeds-and-hymns/
  19. How we know the gospels were written prior to 70 AD,: https://youtu.be/1HKHdBrPdJc
  20. Stephen Meyer: DNA and information: https://youtu.be/7c9PaZzsqEg
  21. Privileged Species featuring Dr. Michael Denton: https://youtu.be/VoI2ms5UHWg
  22. From Atheist to Christian at Yale. Dr. Paul Lim: https://youtu.be/zJ9TfkdgeFc
  23. Is it irrational to believe in God? An interview with John Lennox: https://youtu.be/B6bgoiVPXy0
  24. Job: Rebuked in Suffering | Desiring God – We could simply say, “Yes, I believe God rules over the world and controls what happens. I also believe that he is just and wise. And I believe that, though things look capricious and arbitrary in this life, all wrongs will be righted in the age to come…” That is not a bad way to live. But the writer of the book of Job is not satisfied to live that way. And he wants his readers to know that God has not concealed all of his ways. There is more to see of God’s purpose in suffering than we may think.: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/job-rebuked-in-suffering
  25. Conversation with a teacher on a plane 1 Peter 4:12-16: https://1peter41216.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/conversation-with-a-teacher-on-a-plane/
  26. Secular researchers agree: worldviews control science! – creation.com: https://creation.com/secular-paper-worldviews-control-science

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

Blessings to you all

Conversation with a teacher on a plane

Today, I was on a plane trip for business and was sitting next to a person who is a teacher of Electrical Engineering at a community college and also works at a local university. Initially, there was just the normal chit chat, then she started to sleep for a while, and I started to read the book that I brought with me:

Is God Just a Human Invention?
And Seventeen Other Questions Raised By The New Atheists

It is a fantastic book – this is my second time reading it – and while she was sleeping, I made it through chapter 1 (Is Faith Irrational?) and was starting to read chapter 2 (Are Science and Christianity at Odds?), when the flight attendants came by and asked if we wanted a snack or to order any food, which woke her up and got me to stop reading.

So, after we were given our snacks, we both started to eat and then started to engage again in some conversation. There was a lot of talk about why there are not that many women in technology fields and other various topics.
Then at one point I saw an opportunity to bring up a “theological term” in the context of our conversation (which I then explained). That gave her an opening to ask me about the book I was reading. She’d noticed it and was curious what it was about. I read the title to her and she asked who the author was. So, I handed her the book, (open to the table of contents) so she could see all of the titles of the chapters. she also took note of the editors/authors, Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, from the back of the book.
After taking note of that, she asked me, “So what’s your position on these topics?” That was a good sign, that she was willing to talk about these topics! I’m guessing that she thought maybe I was a skeptic, who was investigating the truth of the Christian worldview. So I told her that I was a Christian.
What ensued over the next 1.5-2 hours was an in-depth conversation about science, religion and (specifically) Christianity. It was a great conversation – we were very respectful, calm and engaged, listening to each other as we learned about our respective worldviews.
We started this part of the conversation talking about the existence of God. I quickly found out that she is a person who, though being in a technical field herself, believes that there are many truths, and many realities. Each person can have their own truth that is meaningful to them. I also found out that she doesn’t really find the questions about God as relevant to her daily life. I suggested to her that questions of our ultimate destination are in fact meaningful to everyone on the earth. That is one issue that we will all have to face. assessing what we will experience on the other side of the door of death. She, however, feels that our behavior and how we get along as people here on earth, and well as preserving the earth are the most important things. During the conversation, I tried to explain to her, the nature of my faith – that, all humans are like jurors who are hearing both sides of a case from opposing “expert witnesses”. We have to evaluate what is said by the opposing expert witnesses and determine which case seems more reasonable. So, my faith is not a “mystical” thing – not a blind faith – but rather that I view the existence of God and the Christian view of the nature of Jesus to be the best inference from the evidence that we have available.That being said, I do have faith in Jesus, which is really a synonym for trust. This seemed to really puzzle her, and she communicated that she does not believe that there’s any evidence for the existence of God and that faith is an individual thing that is meaningful to the person. She was curious to know what I thought was evidence for the existence of God. So I talked about the universe and the fact that it had a beginning – that whatever begins to exist must have a cause. We now know from science that the universe began to exist – that is – all space time and matter came into being at the Big Bang. So, whatever was the cause of the universe had to be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. She seemed to take issue with me saying it had to be. Additionally at this point, she brought up the question of who created God? To which I responded, since the beginning of the Big Bang was the beginning of time, the cause of the universe must be timeless, that is eternal.
She was wondering what the current scientific response to what I was saying was. I explained that the current thinking is what is called the multiverse. She was completely unfamiliar with that term. So I explained that the multiverse is a sort of universe generator, which supposedly has generated innumerable other undetectable universes, and that we just happen to be in the universe that appears to be designed for life, and thus, are here and able to observe it. Then, she was curious about my statement that the universe appears to be designed for life. So, I explained about the cosmological constants and quantities that are fine-tuned to particular values which, had they been different, would prohibit the existence of life in this universe. She seemed to understand these constants and quantities, and I didn’t have to give any further explanation on that topic. But oddly enough, she was very hesitant to agree that the Big Bang is actually the explanation for the beginning of the universe. She clarified that this is the best that scientists can come up with right now, and that future scientific discoveries could change that.
I went on and continued to explain other evidence for the existence of God, such as the argument from the design of DNA (the informational equivalent of roughly 8000 books inside every DNA molecule) and the complexity of biological life at the cellular level.
During this conversation, we talked about many other topics and she raised many other objections against Christianity and theism in general – again, this was all done in a very congenial and friendly conversational way. There was no animus in the conversation at all.
Here’s a summary of what I think she believes.
She believes that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person (or someone like him actually existed).
She believes that the Bible was written so long ago that it’s hard for her to see it as being real. I clarified that the important time Gap is the time between the events, and when they were recorded, not the time between the events and today. We also had, at this point, and discussion about how she knows about the existence of George Washington, and his doings. I was trying to get her to agree that the same way she knows about (and trust the accounts of ) George Washington, is the same way she can know about Jesus.
She completely rejects all miracle reports. In response to this, I asked her, “if there is a God who created the universe and everything in it, isn’t it reasonable to believe that the Being who created the universe and established all the laws that govern it could alter how things occur inside the universe?” She countered with an example that, if a woman gives birth to a baby, does that mean the woman can control everything that happens inside the baby? I acknowledge that that was a good point, but the human mother and the baby are of the same species. But God in the universe are completely different. So I think the analogy fails.
She finds it more difficult to believe in the existence of a Creator of the universe than she does to believe that Jesus existed. At this point, I referred back to the cosmological argument that I’d talked previously with her about. I also emphasized that, if you think about it, there must have been something that was eternal, whether that be God, or the universe itself. One of them must have been eternal. Otherwise, there would be nothing at all. I asked her to consider the point, why is there something rather than nothing? She had a problem understanding the question, then I explained it and, again, she didn’t think it was irrelevant question. she, unlike me does not think about questions of our origin, or our destination.
Even if Jesus existed, and there were eyewitnesses of him, she doesn’t think that what he is reported to have said in the Bible is necessarily what he actually said. At this point, I spoke a little bit about the fact that the Bible was written as 27 books by 9 authors, over a period of 50 years, within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses. so, with that information, what you have to evaluate is the reliability of these eyewitnesses. much in the same way that our criminal justice system evaluates eyewitnesses. Were they there and available to observe the event? Do they have any reason to lie?Is there corroboration from other sources? We also talked a little bit about the nature of eyewitness testimony and that diverging details are to be expected in authentic eyewitness testimony. In the case of the eyewitnesses that wrote down the historical accounts of Jesus, they were willing to go to their deaths proclaiming an account that they knew whether it was true or false.
She stated that the people who wrote it down wrote it down long after he lived.She also stated that these people couldn’t even write. In response to these assertions I explained that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD is not even mentioned in the New Testament.So, that is evidence that the writing was before 70 AD oh, well the other eyewitnesses we’re still alive. also I mentioned to her that the apostle Paul, who wrote one half of the New Testament books was a scholar, so yes, he could write.
She talked about wars in the name of religion, and she talked about people who are “true believers” who do horrible things. I readily agreed with her on this point, that there are those who, throughout the history of Christianity, have done horrible things in the name of Christ. That grieves me as well.
She contrasted the behavior of atheists, with that of Christians, and suggested that sometimes, the atheists actually behave better because of the way that they were brought up. In response to this point I talked about how there is no one perfect, and that according to the Christian worldview, everyone has sinned.we are all guilty before God. She admitted to not really understanding what sin was. I explained that anything less than perfection was sin. I asked her if she had ever told a lie? She said yes but only in a moral dilemma where it was better to lie than to tell the truth so as not to hurt someone. I asked her about stealing and lust. She would not admit to doing anything wrong (wow). But yet, when she agreed that no one was perfect, I explained that God’s standard is perfection, so in this sense, everyone is guilty before God. And I went on to emphasize, that wouldn’t this be a wonderful world if everyone did follow those rules listed out in the ten commandments, that they would love their neighbors theirselves, that they would respect and honor their parents, that they would not lie, steal, commit adultery and she agreed that this would be a utopia if that were the case.

She believes that the term Christian can mean whatever the person feels it too mean. She personally believes that Christian is more of a disposition, or a way of behaving. That we say that when someone is kind to another or charitable, they are acting “Christian”. I asked her, since she’s also an anthropologist, whether she knew what the origin of the term Christian was. Oddly, she thought that didn’t matter. I told her that Christian means follower of Christ, or little Christ. I also asked her at this point what she thought that Jesus would think about this issue. What would he consider a Christian?of course, since she doesn’t think that we have the actual words that Jesus spoke, she claimed to have no idea what Jesus would think about this.

We talked a little bit about evolution. She said she didn’t know whether I believed in evolution. I asked her, “what do you mean by evolution? If you mean change over time, I certainly believe it, it is undeniable. However, if you mean that all life forms on earth today descended from a single cell organism in the distant past, I don’t think that the fossil evidence supports that assertion.”. I went on to explain that in Darwin’s day, there was limited knowledge of the fossil record, but now over a hundred and fifty years later, we have explored much more of it, and are still unable to find the evolutionary precursors of many of the existing life-forms today. At this point, I also mentioned the Cambrian explosion. She was unfamiliar with it. I talked about how over 20 of the current phyla of animals came into existence in a “geological instant” – with no precursors found in the fossil record. This fossil evidence demands an explanation. She didn’t have an answer for this topic. However, she said that she thought Christians in the 19th century were against evolution, not based on scientific evidence, but rather, because it conflicted with their view of the world. She also mentioned that there are Christians who evidently believed that the universe is only 4,000 years old. So we continued on this topic and I explained to her the controversy between old earth creationists and young earth creationists. she was surprised to learn that there are in fact old earth creationists who accept the scientific dating of the universe and of the earth, yet still believe that God was the creator of the universe.I explained to her the different meanings of the Hebrew word for day and how there are many Christians who interpret “day” to mean “age” or “epoch”, not a normal 24 hour period. I also explained to her the young earth creationists contend that there are assumptions built into the scientific dating methods and therefore they are unreliable, and have shown at times to be unreliable when samples of known age are submitted to laboratories for testing and I received back with much longer ages than known age. At this point, I also talked a little bit about the historical situation in the 16th century with Galileo. How at that time there were the “fixed earthers” who believed that the sun rotates around the earth and who believe that the earth must be stationary, because the Bible says that it is fixed in space and rests on pillars. Then there were those (including Galileo) who believed that the earth rotated around the sun. Nowadays, hardly anyone, Christian or secular, believes that the earth is fixed in space. We unanimously believe the evidence which suggests that the earth rotates around the sun. It is non-controversial. I think that one day we may get there on the age of the universe, where all Christians come to accept the scientific consensus without controversy. We also talked about the problem of distant starlight. I told her that I typically try to stay out of those controversies about the age of the earth and the age of the universe. Normally I remain engaged on the topics of the existence of God, the design life, and the resurrection of Jesus.

So, all of this dialog occurred in a very respectful way, and was interspersed in our conversation. She didn’t bring up all these objections at once. During the course of the conversation, I tried to answer most of her objections. We spoke for a long, long time, so there was a lot of back-and-forth conversation. I wouldn’t even call it a debate.
I wish I’d had a tape recorder running, because I would’ve loved to be able to go back and hear all the things that she brought up and how I’d responded to them.I certainly did not list them all here. Overall, it was a very good conversation and we ended the conversation on a positive tone. It sounded like much of what I was telling her in response to her objections she had never heard before.
So, I think it was a successful encounter. Earlier in the day, I’d been praying to God for the opportunity to talk to someone on the flight. Then as all the passengers were boarding the plane, and I was already seated, while they were walking down the aisle, I was praying that God would be preparing someone to sit next to me who’d be ready to hear what I would have to say. I feel that He did answer that prayer! I will be praying for her, that maybe I put a stone in her shoe, and gave her something to think about, something to annoy her (in a good way). I didn’t share the gospel in a classic sense, but I did talk about God, Jesus, sin, heaven, hell, and faith, so we covered just about all the basics.
Thank you Lord for blessing me with this great opportunity. May you make it fruitful. In Jesus’ holy and precious name I pray, Amen.

mid-week apologetics booster (6-13-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1000) from Nuggets:

The best restraint is self-restraint that comes from the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit through the person and presence of Jesus Christ in each individual life. It’s been my observation over the last 30 years that the vast majority of believers need to be freed, not restrained. Our job is to free people, God’s job is to restrain them. God is doing his job much better than were doing ours. – Chuck Swindoll (the Grace Awakening)

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Responding to Pride Month with Genuine Love | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/article/responding-pride-month-genuine-love
  2. No Stable Rights without Intrinsic Human Value | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/no-stable-rights-without-intrinsic-human-value
  3. 30 More Christians Arrested in Eritrea Renounce Your Faith or Go to Jail – Open Doors USA: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/30-more-christians-arrested-in-eritrea-renounce-your-faith-or-go-to-jail/
  4. William Lane Craig: Our Churches have dropped the ball – The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network: https://www.thepoachedegg.net/2012/01/william-lane-craig-our-churches-have-dropped-the-ball.html
  5. The Most Destructive Idea w/ Dr. J.P. Moreland | Cross Examined Official Podcast – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB4cUoOUyto
  6. The Legend of Hercules is Epic… Epically Bad – This movie seemed to have many parallels to biblical characters (Samson and Jesus). It looks like Hercules would’ve been the type of savior that the Jewish people were mistakenly looking for – a political conqueror and a warrior.: https://www.crosswalk.com/culture/movies/the-legend-of-hercules-movie-review.html
  7. Hermes and Zeus When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, The gods have come down to us in human form!’ (Acts 14:11) | Ligonier.org: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/hermes-and-zeus/
  8. The good news about America’s floundering morals – Quit booting God from politics, from schools, from venues of entertainment and places of gathering and reflecting and buying and selling, and God will reward by standing ground. Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/6/the-good-news-about-americas-floundering-morals/
  9. Worth a Thousand Years of Waiting. As of 1979, there were about five hundred known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. In 2005, it was estimated that there were 40,000 ethnic Iranian Christians (not including ethnic minority Christians who live in Iran). That number grew to about 175,000 Christians in 2010, according to the Joshua Project. Today, the average estimates of Christians within Iran range from 300,000 to upwards of one million, according to some missions experts. | Desiring God: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/worth-a-thousand-years-of-waiting
  10. Taking the mystery out of knowing God’s will. A sermon by John MacArthur: https://youtu.be/SGnHAqu9Geo
  11. Is Genesis History? Watch the Film Seen by Millions. I watched this from Amazon Prime. It definitely presents a young earth point of view, but it gives a pretty good and convincing view of that paradigm: https://isgenesishistory.com/product/feature-film/
  12. Detecting False Dichotomies that Hinder the Mission of the Church | Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.: https://douglasgroothuis.com/2019/06/06/detecting-false-dichotomies-that-hinder-the-mission-of-the-church/
  13. Distant Starlight – Under Occam’s Razor – Part 1: Contenders Rational Faith: http://rationalfaith.com/2019/05/distant-starlight-under-occams-razor-part-1-contenders/
  14. Something funny and something serious for Pride Month Running The Race: https://thei535project.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/something-funny-and-something-serious-for-pride-month/
  15. The Vredefort Dome, South Africa – Formed by an enormous asteroid impact during a global watery catastrophe: https://creation.com/vredefort-dome
  16. Holiness and Cultural Apologetics: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/holiness-and-cultural-apologetics/
  17. The Most Valuable 3 Aims of Apologetics by R.C. Sproul: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/most-valuable-aim-apologetics/
  18. Christian Evidences by R.C. Sproul | Ligonier Ministries: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/christian_evidences/
  19. Contend for the Faith | Ligonier.org: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/contend-faith/
  20. Weighing the Evidence – When in dialogue with a Muslim, how often do we find ourselves put on the defensive, fending off the same five or six standard questions which seem to repeat themselves time and again? The objection to the Trinity leads the way, pursued hard on its heels by the disbelief that God could have a Son, followed by the contention that these doctrines were erroneously created by the apostle Paul, and therefore not part of the original canon preached by the historical Jesus.: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/weighing-the-evidence/
  21. Do Believers Always Need to Be Ready to Defend the Gospel?: https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0144/do-believers-always-need-to-be-ready-to-defend-the-gospel
  22. Gods Rainbow Covenant – During the 2016 Christmas season, Answers in Genesis lit up its full-scale replica of Noahs Ark with the colors of the rainbow. That seemingly innocuous act created a storm of protest from people pushing the LGBT agenda. Homosexuals were incensed that a Christian apologetics ministry would steal the emblem of their movement. : https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180622
  23. Conversational Apologies – Believers sometimes feel unprepared to share the Gospel with others, especially if we believe it requires a grand theological mind or complicated intellectual explanations. Sometimes, though, the best way to share Christ is with simplicity and humility. Alistair Begg speaks to the importance of conversational evangelism and how sharing Gods work in our lives is one of the most effective methods of apologetics.- Truth For Life: https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/conversational-Apologies/
  24. Ready to Answer – Harvest: https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/ready-to-answer/
  25. Preaching & Apologetics (Optional Session) by Steven Lawson from Defending the Faith: 2018 West Coast Conference: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/defending-the-faith-2018-west-coast-conference/preaching-and-apologetics/
  26. James Tour, the mystery of the origin of life: https://youtu.be/zU7Lww-sBPg
  27. 12 Apologetics Quotes from Ravi Zacharias – The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network: https://www.thepoachedegg.net/2019/06/apologetics-12-quotes-from-ravi-zacharias.html
  28. Rich countries could join Christian persecution list – Eternity News: https://www.eternitynews.com.au/world/rich-countries-could-join-christian-persecution-list/
  29. Selective tolerance Folau versus Rugby Australia | George’s Journal: https://georgesjournal.net/2019/05/04/selective-tolerance-folau-versus-rugby-australia/

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13

Blessings to you all

Interesting request

Today, someone who our family is friends with (and is Hindu), was talking on the phone to my wife and telling her about her back problems and her challenges with her job.  I was on the couch listening to my wife’s side of the conversation.  She asked my wife to have me “pray to his Jesus” for her (she knows that I’m a Christian and I’ve shared my faith with her).  So, my wife repeated that to me.  And I said, “Tell her she can pray to Him too!”.  My wife told her and said that she replied, “I did, but He said that Steve is much closer to Him than me!” (laughing).  So, of course I said that I would pray for her.

In reality, my primary prayer will be that she comes to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ” whom He has sent (John 17:3).  Then, I will also be praying for her well-being in other areas.  But unless she gets the foundation right, nothing else will work – she is building on sand rather than on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27).  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He won’t be accepted as one of millions of other “deities”.

I must say I’m encouraged though that this friend of ours admitted to praying to Jesus.  I don’t know what her prayer was, but I suspect that she was just praying to Jesus as one of 330,000,000 deities, not as the Sovereign Creator of the Universe and as her only Lord and Savior.

I pray today for her salvation and for her healing and for her well-being in all areas of life – both physical and (especially) spiritual.

Multiple conversations at St Vincent de Paul today

Again, today was our monthly time of serving the homeless at St Vincent de Paul, which is a food kitchen, run by the Catholic Church as I understand it.

I always look forward to these days serving, for several reasons.

  • The Bible commands that we give food and clothes to those who don’t have them (Luke 3:11).
  • I need to have it reinforced to me how materially blessed and privileged I am.
  • I love talking to the other groups serving alongside of us when we go come on because many times, they aren’t Christian.

Today was no exception. Unbelievably, in the three and a half hours I was there, I got into 6 conversations with people I didn’t know:

I spoke with a drug-addicted, ex-prostitute and formerly homeless woman who is now a Christian and who has been clean and sober for 60 days. We praised God for the work that He has done in her life.

I spoke with a young man, who claimed to be a Muslim, about Jesus. We got into a conversation about Christianity and Islam. During the conversation I showed him Surah 5:47-48:

We caused Jesus, son of Mary to follow in their footsteps, fulfilling what had been revealed before him in the Torah. We gave him the Gospel, which contained guidance and light, fulfilling what was revealed before it in the Torah: a guide and an admonition to the God-fearing. Therefore, let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed in it. Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are rebellious.

This essentially says that the Christian gospels are the word of God. So, the Quran, is saying that the Bible is accurate. But the Bible says that Jesus is God. And yet, Islam says that the worst sin a person can commit is the sin of shirk. That is, worshiping a man as God. And that is what Muslims say that Christians are doing. After I said that, he actually said, “Well, you beat me man”. I shared with this young gentleman that he needed to know the real Jesus, who is God. I encouraged him to look up a book by Nabeel Qureshi called “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” which recounts his journey from Islam to Christianity.

I spoke with a recent high-school graduate from our own church who I had never met. She was serving with us today, and I asked her if she still attends our church (because I hadn’t seen her there for a long time). She said she occasionally attends, and then I asked her if she considers herself to be a Christian and she essentially said no. I shared my testimony that I was saved at age 37, and at the end of the day I thanked her for being so honest and told her that it must have been difficult to admit what she did, while serving with a church group. I told her I would really like to talk about this more at some point in the future, and she agreed and thought that would be good.

After we had prepared all the food and tables, but before the people came in to eat, I was able to pray for the whole group (about 30 people) in Jesus’ name.

My job was doing the garbage. Wall I was tending to the garbage, I spoke with a security guy that I was hanging around where I was and we ended up talking about the homeless problem in Los Angeles, skid row, in the resurgence of typhoid there as compared with here in Phoenix, and we also ended up talking about transgenderism (he brought it up, not me), because of a few transgender people that were homeless and were being fed by us. He was of the mistaken impression that transgendered meant that the person had both the sex organs of a woman and of a man simultaneously and from birth. I was able to clarify that was not the case, and then went on to tell him about “gender dysphoria”.

I spoke to two Roman Catholic men, one was mopping the floor and the other I was separating and unpackaging bread with him.

And yes, believe it or not I did work. My job was taking out the garbage, as usual.

Overall, I would consider it a very blessed day for everyone involved!

 

 

 

mid-week apologetics booster (6-6-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1000) from Nuggets:

We could put it this way: The shadows prove the sunshine. There can be sunshine without shadows, but there can’t be shadows without sunshine. In other words, there can be good without evil, but there can’t be evil without good; and there can’t be objective good without God. So evil may show there’s a devil out there, but it can’t disprove God. Evil actually boomerangs back to show that God exists.

– Frank Turek

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. ESSAY; Science and Religion: Bridging the Great Divide – The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/30/science/essay-science-and-religion-bridging-the-great-divide.html
  2. Following Jesus’ Example? It’s Biblical: https://mintools.com/blog/following-jesus-example.htm
  3. Luke Barnes on the fine-tuning of the strong force and fine structure constant | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2019/05/31/luke-barnes-on-the-fine-tuning-of-the-strong-force-and-fine-structure-constant/
  4. Pro-Choice Objection: Bodily Autonomy & Organ Donors Coffeehouse Questions: https://coffeehousequestions.com/2019/06/01/pro-choice-objection-bodily-autonomy-organ-donors/
  5. A Great Teacher Can Simplify without Distortion: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/great-teacher-simplify-without-distortion/
  6. Twitter bans Live Action (a great pro-life Twitter feed) unless and until they remove anything about abortion procedures, Investigations of Planned Parenthood, ultrasound images. This is outrageous: https://twitter.com/LilaGraceRose/status/1135732734146428928
  7. Frank Turek analyzes tweets of a pastor left the faith: https://subspla.sh/3476rnd
  8. Universe is younger and expanding faster than previously thought – CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/universe-is-younger-and-expanding-faster-than-previously-thought/
  9. Paul on the Areopagus: A Master Class in Evangelization (although I don’t agree with Roman Catholic theology, I do think this article is worthy to read): https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/paul-on-the-areopagus-a-master-class-in-evangelization/24258/
  10. Think Divinely A Great Falling Away: https://thinkdivinely.com/a-great-falling-away/
  11. Think Divinely Apologetics links and resources: https://thinkdivinely.com/resources/
  12. Is the Watchmaker Blind? – Part II – Logic & Light: http://www.logicandlight.org/blind-watchmaker-part-ii/
  13. What are Western European Views on Gay Marriage? | Bishop’s Encyclopedia of religion, society and philosophy: https://jamesbishopblog.com/2019/06/03/what-are-western-european-views-on-gay-marriage/
  14. God’s providence and the D-day landings: https://www.evangelical-times.org/20735/gods-providence-and-the-d-day-landings/

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:26

Blessings to you all