Me: I doubt this hypothetical question is of sincere interest to you, so, I will leave it alone
Her: yes, philosophy and religion are extremely interesting and collide in all kinds of pithy ways. Religion has many positive social structures and fills some peoples’ needs for making order out of what they perceive as disorder. It’s all interesting to discuss if you can move beyond the trite.
Me: Yes, Christianity has contributed greatly to many essential areas of society (e.g. origin of hospitals, many Christian scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Pasteur, institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford had Christian beginnings and many other things). I agree that following Christian teachings has benefits for people in terms of stable families and moral behavior. But that’s not the main point. As C.S. Lewis stated, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” So, if it is not true, I might as well be golfing on Sunday mornings And yes, I strive to “move beyond the trite”. I like to concern myself with things that matter (eternally), and think that we all should do likewise. I think many (including my pre-conversion self) are more concerned about planning the next vacation or retirement than thinking about what will happen when they die. I’m open to a dialogue on these topics that really matter. Have a great day!
Her: why be concerned about what will happen when you die? If you’re a believer, you should have no concern at all about what happens. Plan that vacation and go play golf on Sunday.
Me: I personally am not concerned (or “worried”) about what will happen when I die. That issue was settled for me when I became a Christian, so yes you’re right – I have no concern, I’m confident about my eternal destination. Rather, what I was referring to were those people who have not yet made that decision. I, myself, am an adult convert. I didn’t grow up in the church, but became a Christian well into adulthood, being married with children. So, I was relying on my own experience, describing what my priorities were “pre-conversion”. I was there at one point in my life and am not claiming any superiority of those who’ve not made that decision yet. I’m just one beggar trying to tell another beggar where I’ve found food!
Her: people will always question and challenge the things they can’t see and know. That’s a part of both religion and philosophy, and all good.
Then, on another question in the same FB thread, the same person replied to my answer to this question:
How did life originate?
Me: The evidence suggests that abiogenesis (the theory that life originated from non-living material [non-life]) is highly improbable. According to Stephen Meyer, the odds of getting a functional protein of 150 amino acids by chance is no better than 1 in 10 to the 164th power. Now consider that there are 10 to the 80th power elementary particles in the entire universe. So, life could not have originated “on it’s own”. Life shows many evidences of design, therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that life was originated by an intelligent designer, who we call God.
Her: well, the odds of life being created by ‘god’ are even less! I’d like to see your statistics about that for comparison.
Me: Design requires a designer. Life is obviously designed. DNA is more sophisticated than any programming language that human beings have created. Creation requires a creator:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.
This syllogism is known as the Kalam Cosmological argument for God’s existence.
The universe didn’t “pop out of nothing”. The effect (the universe) tells us something about the cause.
The bottom line is this: Since there was an absolute beginning to space, time and matter, it’s reasonable to conclude that the cause of the universe must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial. This cause must also be personal in order to choose to create, intelligent to create such a fine-tuned universe, and powerful to create out of nothing. A spaceless, timeless, immaterial, personal, intelligent, powerful Being is exactly what theists call “God”.
Her: keep thinking! We know very little and eventually you can find calm in that
Me: sorry, but I will have to respectfully disagree. We know many things, according to the same standard of proof in our legal system, “beyond a reasonable doubt”. I don’t find calm in not knowing, but rather in trusting in God who I have good reasons to believe exists. Again, I will quote C.S. Lewis, who I believe is very helpful here: “Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants everyone to use what sense they have. “. Have a great day and I urge you to think deeply about the things I’ve said in our interactions in this excellent thread!
Her: excellent! Yes, I hope you find peace and comfort in the unknown. Scientifically and intellectually speaking, we ‘know’ virtually nothing at all. That makes life exciting! And full of experiences of all kinds. You don’t even know what your brain is going to be thinking about 20 minutes from now. Life is a grand adventure.
Me: you say “Scientifically and intellectually speaking, we know virtually nothing at all”. I would like to respectfully point out something about it by asking you a question… Is that something you claim to “know”?
Her: yes, I definitely know that I know almost nothing, compared to what there is to learn and ‘know.’ And, what is known by others is vast, but almost nothing compared to what we would like to know.
Me: so, you must be aware that your statement is what is called a “self-refuting statement”. It is a statement that doesn’t live up to its own standard. It would be like saying I can’t speak a single word in the English language, yet using English to communicate that idea. Self-refuting statements cannot possibly be true.
Her: lol, keep thinking! You are a reader and learn from others, and adopt others’ ideas that ring true to you. That’s super interesting. We use what we ‘know’ to try to understand what we don’t ‘know.’ Makes sense to us within the confines of so little knowledge.
Someone posed the following question on a local Facebook group for our community:
“If you could ask God any one question and you knew He’d give you an answer right now, what would you ask?“
What follows is one of many conversations that occurred in the comments for this post:
Her: Where and how, did racial supremacy and arrogance start?
Me: It’s called sin. God allows this now, but will be dealt with at Judgment Day…
Her: my question though, is not whether God allows it or not. He certainly DOES NOT APPROVE OF IT. There is NOTHING godly about it at all! When you make that statement, it sounds a bit irresponsible. Also my question, is what are the origins of it?
Me: the origins of it are evil and sin in the human heart. The Bible says, the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9. All have sinned in fall short of the glory of God. Each one has different types of sins that they commit, for some it’s lying, for some its selfishness, for some it’s racism, arrogance, etc. However God will judge all sin, no matter what type.
Her: I can get you plenty of Holy Quran verses, which say that it started when Iblis or who the Christians call Lucifer, refused to bow in greeting to Adam. The reason being that this entity, was one of the jinn, made of fire, according to Muslims and according to the Christians he is a fallen angel made of light. Either way, he thought he was superior to Adam, who was made of clay or earth. But now I would like the specific human instance where racial supremacy first started.
Me: Well, I don’t know if it’s the first instance, but the Pharaoh of Egypt enslaved millions of Hebrews (under Moses – Read the first part of the book of Exodus) and treated them very harshly. He only finally let them go after God brought the series of plagues and other disasters upon him and his people. But it is said that Pharaoh “hardened his heart”. I believe that what was going on there was a form of racism or ethnic persecution. I will say this, the Bible does speak about all races and classes of people being equal. Galatians 3:28 says “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. So, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Additionally, yes, I do agree that Satan was the instigator of the initial sin that came into the world, when he caused Eve to question God’s Word and His goodness. It is said of Satan in Isaiah chapter 14 that his sin was pride and that he wanted to be higher than God, which is why God cast him down and he took with him a third of all the angels, which you called “Jin”. I had many conversations over a period of about a year with a Muslim friend of mine who is a Sunni Muslim. It was a really good time and we sparred back and forth about the various aspects of the Quran, and the Bible, and Jesus, etc. He gave me a copy of the Quran, which I already had in Kindle on my phone, and I gave him a study Bible. Neither one of us convinced the other one, but it was always an enjoyable, respectful and invigorating conversation. I continue to pray that he would see the biblical Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior of his life. I truly believe that all religions can have productive dialogue without hatred violence or discord.
Her: I really like your comment here, but if I have to be completely honest, this idea of Eve being the one to be blamed for the original sin is simply NOT in Islam. My personal belief is that it is erroneous, because it is not written in the Holy Quran like this AT ALL. It is both who sinned. This belief has caused A LOT of misogyny in the world and even in Western nations, I see this cruel misogyny that rivals or even tops the most uneducated nations. It has caused a lot of sadness and heartache. I simply do not believe it, which is why ,I simply cannot accept Christianity….and why only Christianity , I also can’t accept Judaism . But of course to each their own
Me: to be clear, in Christianity, Eve is not the one blamed for original sin. Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world through one man, and that man was Adam. It doesn’t say that sin entered the world through Eve. Eve was the first one to eat the fruit which God commanded not to eat, but Adam participated with her. It was a joint error. Therefore, it is not a valid reason to reject Christianity. Christianity stands or falls on three things: The deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. If those three things are true, Christianity is true if any of them can be proved false, then Christianity falls apart.
Her: I would need to read the Bible. But I have many reasons for not accepting the Judeo -Christian tradition. That is certainly my choice. I am not obligated to accept this tradition at all. I have friends from both faiths though. Whatever you are telling me here, about who ate the apple first, sounds …not quite right to me. Anyway, if you believe it, then this is your choice.
Me: sure, it would be good for you to read the Bible, Sura 5:47 even says “let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allaah has revealed therein”. Yes, it is certainly your choice what to believe. Christians attempt to persuade others Christianity is true, but we don’t force people. And thankfully, our country was founded with freedom of religion. Good to hear you have friends of both faiths
Her: great, have a good day!
Me: thanks! You too! Nice talking to you.
Another person chiming in: thank you both for having an open and respectful dialogue. Either which way… you guys both rock!!
Her: awww, thank you You are so sweet. (my name) seems like a gentleman, I think I am too blunt, I apologize if I have hurt anyone. Also, I would like to let (my name) know that the place my parents came from, India, also has almost every religion, it was founded on freedom of religion, so even though it is majority Hindu, there are plenty of Muslims and also Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and even Jews …also many Muslim nations too, like Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Iran do have freedom of religion! There are plenty of happy Christians living in those places as well as other faiths and Iran has THE highest Jewish population in the Middle East, aside from Israel and they are VERY happy living there! But the media often paints another very sad picture. Iraq too, used to be like this, but then first Saddam Hussain, then our invasion of the place and then the formation of ISIS/ISIL (due to a variety of sinister factors) really messed things up and that terror spread into Syria as well. It is very sad and if I talk about it too much it could get controversial, as this is a local group. Anyway, love and prayer for you both
Me: don’t worry, I don’t get hurt over things like this. Nothing you said was offensive or hurtful – I promise you. I’m told in the Bible to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3), but yet leave the results to God (1 Corinthians 3:6). Most of my adult life in college and work, I have spent with people from India, Iran, China, Japan, Ecuador, Mexico, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and many other places and many other faiths, so in a sense, at my place of employment, I’ve been a minority for many years – the only native born American and only Christian in my department. I appreciate hearing about the cultures and ways of life from all these different locations, and I continue to share my faith with them all. Again, I would like to thank you for the respectful conversation and would also like to mention that you’re free to come join us at Bridgeway Community Church (24th Street & Liberty Lane), I’m sure you will find all the people there friendly. By the way, thank you for the kind words. Additionally, (to the other person), thanks for chiming in to give your 2 cents! Have a great father’s day with any fathers in your lives!
Here is a random quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:
Think about Genesis 18 again, where God appeared to Abraham. This clearly teaches that God can come to earth in human form for a period of time if he wants to. If he could do this for a few hours, in a temporary human form, could he do it for a few years, in permanent human form? Of course. This is called the incarnation – God coming down to earth in the person of his Son. When we recognize the Son as the exact representation of God, yet God himself, then we can explain how God remained the Lord in heaven while also appearing as the Lord on earth in Genesis 18. – Dr. Michael Brown (quoted in “The Case for the Real Jesus”)
Atheisms Burden of Proof – Atheists claim they have nothing to prove. They simply lack a belief in God, which means they don’t shoulder a burden of proof. After all, no one needs to prove why they don’t believe in Santa Claus. Only the person who posits that Santa Claus (or some other being) exists is responsible for giving evidence for their view. Atheists, allegedly, can sit back and watch Christians and other theists struggle to defend their belief….: https://www.str.org/w/atheism-s-burden-of-proof
Cruella – Being bad has rarely looked so good. Therein lies this Disney reboots charm and its problems. Though it stays well within its PG-13 rating fence and doesn’t have that many overt content issues, Cruella is all style, little substance – all glam, no mass. Fitting it should revolve around the world of fashion, given that the film itself is sequin deep. Plugged In: https://www.pluggedin.com/movie-reviews/cruella-2021/
No Free Lunch for Evolution – Molecular biologist Douglas Axe explains how there is “no free lunch” when it comes to explaining the development of life. This talk is from Axe’s online course, “Douglas Axe Investigates Molecular Biology and Intelligent Design” – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0VJkQHC7zA
Fooling the Prophet with the Kinderhook Plates – According to the account, Wiley and others, found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters. The plates were then given to Joseph Smith to translate. Though he was described as a respectable merchant (p. 374), Smith was unaware that Wiley was part of a conspiracy to expose Smith as a fraud. The ruse was a success. Mormonism Research Ministry: https://www.mrm.org/kinderhook-plates
The Culpability of Unbelief – So, as you say, Jon, the question is, is Christianity a communication from God? Is it the real thing? I have given abundant evidence in my published work that it is and have defended this claim in public debates with Christianity’s most celebrated detractors. If, indeed, Christianity is from God, then we should give heed to Jesus when he says, If any mans will is to do Gods will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-culpability-of-unbelief/
Here is a random quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:
There is no growth without challenge. As students grow up in the church they need real world tests that challenge their faith while in a safe community of other committed Christians who care about them and can equip them. The “just believe harder/blind faith” approach is not working. More importantly, it’s deeply unbiblical. Students need a grown-up worldview that explains their experiences and makes sense of the world around them. At some point, they need to transfer ownership from the church or their parents to themselves. They need to come to a point where they are convinced Christianity is true. Building a lasting faith means knowing what you believe, why you believe it and how to live it out. – Jonathan Morrow (from, 3 Kinds of Students That Leave Christianity After High School)
Yes, Bart Ehrman, Jesus is Yahweh – Bart Ehrman is a professor of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina. He is well known for his best-selling popular-level books that are critical of the core tenets of evangelical Christianity and in particular the reliability of the New Testament sources. Frequent readers of my articles will already know that Ehrman is not the most careful scholar when it comes to his utilization of ancient sources. A few days ago, Ehrman published two blog posts on his website, claiming that the idea that Jesus is Himself Yahweh is a recent doctrinal innovation, completely foreign to the New Testament and the ancient church. Ehrman even goes so far as to say that this is the view of only some conservative evangelical Christians and that I’ve never even heard the claim (let alone a discussion of it) until very recently. : https://crossexamined.org/yes-bart-ehrman-jesus-is-yahweh/
Evangelize the Lost : 9Marks How should we interact with our non-Christian friends, co-workers, and classmates around us in order that they might hear and believe in the gospel? Here are five lessons to remember.: https://www.9marks.org/article/evangelize-the-lost/
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:16-18
The Paradigm Project: Intelligent Design – Meet some of the world’s most dangerous mind scientists who are daring to claim that nature provides compelling evidence of intelligent design. In this new video, join host Kutter Callaway as he investigates recent developments about the origin and evolution of life and what these developments may mean for humanity’s age-old search for faith and purpose. The video features interviews with philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell, Darwin’s Doubt, and The Return of the God Hypothesis; molecular biologist Douglas Axe of Biola University, author of Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition that Life Is Designed; and molecular and cell biologist Jonathan Wells, author of The Myth of Junk DNA, Icons of Evolution, and Zombie Science. – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jxaF36arB4
Sean Responds to His “Atheist Encounter” at A Christian School – In this video, I answer seven questions that I received while role-playing an atheist at a Christian High school. This video includes my REAL thoughts on the existence of Jesus, the multiverse, prophecy, and more. It is from the recent video titled “A Christian Role-Plays an Atheist to a Group of Christians.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOSMkNH8fNE
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:21-22
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
Imagine you were at a table about to eat dinner and you have two bowls of white powder in front of you. Do you put them on your food? After all, they look pretty similar. But what if I told you that one was ordinary table salt and the other was cyanide? The differences matter far more than the similarities! So it is with religion and its path for your eternal future. – Jonathan Morrow
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant –not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 2 Corinthians 3:6-10
Can The Gospels Be Trusted? C.S. Lewis argued that if the gospel is true (if Jesus was the Son of God come in flesh, if He lived a perfect life, performed miracles, died for our sins, was physically raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and reigns at present as the living Lord), it is of infinite importance. If it is not true, it is of no importance, except as a cultural phenomenon. But it cannot be of moderate importance. The events mentioned above either happened, or they did not. In other words, our faith is rooted in history. Paul Johnson says, Christianity is essentially a historical religion. It bases its claims on the historical facts it asserts. If these are demolished it is nothing. | C.S. Lewis Institute: https://www.cslewisinstitute.org/Can_The_Gospels_Be_Trusted_FullArticle
The Fear of Phobic – There are a lot of terms that end with phobic: homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, and transphobic. If someone expresses disagreement with the mainstream narrative on homosexuality, Islam, foreigners, or transgender people, they’ll be slapped with a phobic label. Although a phobia has been historically understood to be a fear of something (e.g., arachnophobia is a fear of spiders), adding the suffix today is intended to signal that you hold a bigoted view on that subject and that’s bad. You’re supposed to be so afraid of being labeled phobic that you’ll change your position or, at least, never express it again in public. If you do, prepare to be canceled, – Alan Shlemon: https://www.str.org/w/the-fear-of-phobic-
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
Focusing on Christ is neither a natural reaction nor an easy one. Our instinct is to dwell on the situation at hand, searching for solutions or stewing over the pain and difficulty. As a result, troubles look scary and overwhelm us with a sense of defeat. However, fear and defeat cannot live long in a heart that trusts the Lord. I’m not saying you’ll forget what you’re going through, but you can choose to dwell on His provision and care instead. – Charles Stanley
Who’s Waiting for Your Kids? In a few short years, they will leave the safety of your home and church and head off to college. Who will they meet? What ideas will they encounter? What moral choices will they face? For most adults, it’s been quite a few years since they’ve set foot on a college campus. Let us bring you up-to-speed on who and what is waiting for your kids – Stand to Reason Blog: https://str.typepad.com/weblog/2012/10/whos-waiting-for-your-kids.html
Who’s Waiting for You? When you leave the safety of a Christian home or youth group and head off to college and work, are you ready to meet people who are hostile to the Christian faith? Are you prepared to meet their challenges? – STR Quick-Reference App: https://subsplash.com/strquickreference/media/mi/+bd15cbe
Taking the Heat – According to Jesus, we should expect the world to be upset with us. Yes, even if Christians are the most loving people imaginable. Why? Because the world suppresses the truth in its sin. Unbelievers trip over Jesus because He is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.: https://www.str.org/w/taking-the-heat
Are Faith and Reason Compatible? A lot of Christians think that faith and reason are at opposite ends of the spectrum; that reason is used to get knowledge on one side, and on the other side are the things that you don’t have good reasons for like faith. There is a sense that Christians in faith are leaping in the dark and believing ridiculous things because this is all that we have available to us. If we use reason and are thoughtful about our faith, somehow we are not doing what God wants. – Stand to Reason Blog: https://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/12/are-faith.html
Why I’m a Christian – I see myself as an evangelical (lower case) Christian (uppercase) apologist. I think every Christian is an apologist to some degree. No, not a professional apologist like Rob Bowman, William Lane Craig, or Mike Licona, but we all have formulated some degree of warrant or justification for our faith. Just like everyone is a theologian, everyone is also an apologist. However, this does not mean that we are good apologists! Credo House Ministries: https://credohouse.org/blog/why-im-a-christian
Tim Keller on evangelism in the 21st century – Tim Keller, founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, talks about evangelism and contextualising the gospel for the 21st century city.- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHQBoLo31Ns&t=160s
The Key to Successful Debating – I believe that preparation is the key to successful debating. My goal is to be so well prepared that I don’t have to think on my feet. This is accomplished by thinking in advance of all the objections to ones arguments that one’s opponent is likely to raise and then preparing answers to them. Whichever ones he brings up you are therefore prepared to meet. | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-key-to-successful-debating
Are there Guidelines for doing Apologetics? Almost every discipline has a set of rules and guidelines that help a person perform better. In fact, guidelines could be produced for nearly any endeavor. Why should apologetics be any different? Following are some things I have found that are very helpful in developing apologetic skills. I am not saying that these are definitive or exhaustive in scope. Rather, these are simply the things that I have found that have helped me. I hope they help you. | carm.org: https://carm.org/defending-the-faith/are-there-guidelines-for-doing-apologetics/
5 Reasons Christian Teens Need Apologetics – There are many reasons why providing Christian youth with apologetics training is vitally important. Before teaching students how to give reasons for why they believe Christianity to be true, we must first be ready to help them understand that Christianity is rational so that they are ready to engage the flood of ideologies they are encountering. | Real Life Apologetics: https://reallifeapologetics.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/5-reasons-christian-teens-need-apologetics/
Do Your Kids Know Why They Need God? A few months ago, my 6-year-old daughter asked a question that has had me thinking ever since: Mommy, why does God matter so much? It was the most fundamental of questions, really. Yet I was embarrassingly uncertain of how to answer it in a way that meaningfully encapsulates the full answer for her. I’ve thought about the question many times since she first asked it, and it’s always bothered me that I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on how best to reply.: https://natashacrain.com/do-your-kids-know-why-they-need-god/
USA Today Looks to Bounce Oral Roberts University from NCAA – The small Tulsa college is evangelical, they announce, as if it’s news. That means they believe the Bible. And if they believe the Bible, an editor argues, there should be no place for them on the court — or anywhere else in polite society.: https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA21C56&f=WU21C18
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.” And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah 2:7-10
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
Let us strive to live like men who believe in a resurrection and a life to come – and desire to be always ready for the eternal world. So living, we shall look forward to death with calmness. – J.C. Ryle
Sharing Your Faith 101 – Maybe you’re afraid to share your faith because you don’t know what to say. Or maybe you’re sharing the Gospel but nothing is happening; people aren’t committing their lives to Christ. Are you doing something wrong?: https://billygraham.org/story/sharing-your-faith-101/
The Hidden Consequences of Sexual Sin – As with all sexual sin, there is absolutely no excuse, no rationalization, and no justification for it. In Ravi’s case, there are hundreds of women who are victims of his unwanted and inappropriate advances. Ravi abused his influence, his power, and his reputation as a man of God in order to abuse these women. None of these cases were simply two consenting adults engaging in a relationship. When there is a power imbalance like this, the relationship is never consenting. These were like an employer/employee relationship, one that is never fully consensual as a true loving relationship. One party is always holding power over the other in some form or fashion. Sadly, these women aren’t even the only victims here. He has betrayed his wife and the vows he made to her before family, friends, and God to love and cherish her until death separates them.: https://www.defendthefaithministry.com/2021/02/the-hidden-consequences-of-sexual-sin/
This coming Tuesday, I plan to give the following teaching to a group of about 15 men. The first part of it draws heavily on concepts and content from the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” (chapters 8 & 9)
1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.
4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.
8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.“
11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. 12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. NASB
The Plausibility of Miracles
Luke 5:1-16 gives the account of 2 miraculous signs performed by Jesus in the presence of His disciples and many other witnesses. The miraculous catch of fish (v4-10) and the healing of the leper (v12-15).
Atheism / Naturalism
The atheistic worldview asserts that only the natural, material world exists. According to atheists, miracles are impossible because there is no supernatural realm. According to them, to believe otherwise is to believe in fairy tales. However, if God exists and created the universe (inferred from many lines of evidence), it is reasonable to believe that He can intervene in the natural world He created. With regard to the Bible, if Genesis 1:1 is true – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (we have good evidence to believe it is) – then every other miracle in the Bible is easy to believe. Can a God who created the entire universe out of nothing part the Red Sea? Bring fire down from heaven? Keep a man safe in a great fish for three days? Accurately predict future events? Turn water into wine? Heal diseases instantaneously? Raise the dead? Of course. All of those miraculous events are simple tasks for an infinitely powerful Being who created the universe in the first place.
As C. S. Lewis put it, “If we admit God, must we admit Miracle? Indeed, indeed, you have no security against it. That is the bargain.”
David Hume’s Argument against Miracles
David Hume was a famous and influential skeptic who lived in the 1700s. His argument against miracles is one of the pillars of the so-called Enlightenment. Here is Hume’s argument against miracles:
Premise 1: Natural law is by definition a description of a regular occurrence.
Premise 2: A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.
Premise 3: The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
Premise 4: A wise man always bases his belief on the greater evidence.
Conclusion: Therefore, a wise man should never believe in miracles.
If those four premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows – the wise man should never believe in miracles. Unfortunately for Hume, the argument has a false premise—premise 3 is not necessarily true. The evidence for the “regular” is not always greater than that for the “rare”. Here are some examples:
A hole-in-one: A hole-in-one is a rare event, but when we witness one we have no trouble believing it. We don’t say to the golfer, “Since the evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare, I’m not going to believe your shot unless you can tee it up and do it five times in a row!”
Winning the Lottery: A winning lottery ticket provides evidence that a certain person (improbably) won the lottery no matter how regularly that person had failed to win in the past.
The birth of every person: Each person is only born once (physically), which is a rare occurrence.
So, the 3rd premise of Hume’s argument against miracles must be disregarded. If Hume really believed in that premise, he would not have believed in his own birth! Hume rules out belief in miracles in advance because he believes there is uniform experience against them.
C.S. Lewis again is insightful here as he comments on Hume:
“Now of course we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely ‘uniform experience’ against miracles, if in other words they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all the reports of them are false. And we can know all the reports to be false only if we know already that miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.” from Miracles (1972), pg. 105
In 1820, Thomas Jefferson used a razor and glue to cut and paste (literally) selected verses from a 1794 bilingual Latin/Greek version of the Bible. He called it “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus’s miracles and most supernatural events are not included in Jefferson’s heavily edited compilation.
Categories of unusual events
As we consider Luke 5:1-16, let’s keep in mind the different types of unusual events that can occur:
Take note that there is a difference between the last 2: Providence and Miracles. An example of providence may’ve been the fog at Normandy during the Allied invasion June 6th 1944 (D-Day):
It could be an example of providence because it helped conceal the Allied attack against the evil Nazi regime. It was not necessarily a miracle, because it could be explained by natural laws, however God may’ve providentially acted through weather conditions to accomplish His will (similar to Jesus’s death – see Acts 2:22-24). By contrast, a miracle would be something like bullets bouncing off the chests of soldiers as they assaulted the beach, which could not be explained by any natural laws (of physics).
Objection: No Miracles Happening Today?
Some people object, “If there are no public miracles happening today, then why should we think they happened in the past?” There’s a common misconception behind this question. It’s the belief that the Bible is filled with miracles that occur continually throughout biblical history. That’s only partially true. It is true that the Bible is filled with miracles (about 250 occasions of them). But many of those miracles occur during the lifetimes of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and the apostles. Why then? Because those were the times when God was confirming new truth (revelation) and new messengers with that truth. This is not to say that God cannot do miracles today, or that He never does. As the sovereign Creator and sustainer of the universe, He can do a miracle anytime He wants. In fact, there is a 2 volume book “Miracles” by Craig Keener that documents numerous modern reports of miracles.
Q: As you share your faith with those around you, does the “implausibility” of miracles ever come up?
1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret
As happened many times in the early ministry of Jesus crowds were around him, and the Word of God was being preached to these crowds.
2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.
Simon was a fisherman and owned a boat, which Christ used to separate Himself from the crowd so that He could teach them. Christ undoubtedly was a wise teacher and many religions acknowledge that (e.g. Judaism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Bahá’í, Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age Movement). However, only Biblical Christianity understands Christ in His true nature. He was and is:
God in human flesh (John 1:14; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:16)
King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16)
Lamb of God (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1:36; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5-7; 12-15; 17; 19; 21; 22)
The Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
The Messiah/the Christ (John 4:25-26; 17:3; Mark 14:61-62; Luke 24:13-27)
The one and only Son of God (Matt. 16:16; 26:63-64)
The Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14; Mark 14:62; Luke 9:26)
Highly exalted and worthy of worship (Philippians 2:9; Revelation 1:12-18; 5:12)
2nd Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19; John 14:26; Mark 1:9-11)
Will return a 2nd time and judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1)
The Creator (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:1-3)
The Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; 2 Timothy 1:10)
Fully human (John 1:14; 4:6; 11:35; 20:25-27; 1 John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:20)
Teacher/rabbi (Matt 23:10; 26:18; John 1:38; 3:2)
Miracle worker (John 3:2; Acts 2:22)
Exorcist and healer (Matt 4:24; 8:16; Luke 11:14-20)
Died on a Roman cross for our sins, was buried and rose bodily after 3 days and appeared to witnesses (1 Cor. 15:3-8; Colossians 1:20; Acts 2:23-24)
Ascended to heaven (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9)
Is at the right hand of the Father (Mark 14:62; Acts 7:55; Hebrews 1:3)
See article from J. Warner Wallace in resources for a list of extra-biblical references to Jesus. In the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” (the section in chapter 9 – THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO NON-CHRISTIANS), extra biblical references of Jesus paint the following picture of Him:
4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”
Jesus asked Simon, an experienced fisherman, to do something that seemed nonsensical – after failing to catch anything in an all-night fishing expedition, and Jesus said to do it again. Simon could’ve told Him to “pound sand” – that He doesn’t know what He’s talking about… But he obeyed Jesus – he did what Jesus said, despite it not making sense to him.
In another Gospel, it is recorded:
John 8:31-32 – To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.“
Again, later in Luke, He says:
Luke 6:46-49 – ” Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.“
It has been said that the Jews believed that you “do first, understand later”. This is based on the phrase recorded in the Exodus 24:7: “We will do and hear everything the Lord has said.”
Q: Is there any area of your life where you’ve not obeyed Jesus because it didn’t make sense to you?
6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
Jesus enables a miraculous catch of fish here. We don’t know whether it was providential (Jesus, in His omniscience, simply knew where the fish were [i.e. in the “deep water”]) or a miracle of creation, where He produced (or multiplied) the fish “on demand” (like in the feeding of the 5,000). In either case, Peter, an experienced fisherman, realized a miraculous sign had been performed by Jesus. Take note that Simon Peter’s first reaction was to worship Jesus, knowing he was in the presence of deity, and confess his own sinfulness.
J.C. Ryle says – “When men are brought close contact with God, the sight of divine greatness and holiness should make them feel strongly their own littleness and sinfulness. Like Adam after the fall – his first thought is to hide himself. Like Israel at Sinai, ‘Do not let God speak with us, lest we die.’ (Exodus 20:19).”
There are other places in Scripture, where encounters with the miraculous or divine lead to similar actions – here’s one:
Isaiah 6:1-5 – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
10 And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
After reassuring Simon (“do not fear”), Jesus reveals to him what the rest of his life will be about – evangelizing the world. He says “you will be catching men”. Simon, being a fisherman, was familiar with catching fish. In order to catch the fish, you couldn’t just wait for them to come to you, you had to go to where they were. After being filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Peter’s post-conversation life would be testifying of Jesus, his Master, to the world. Peter travelled throughout Israel:
Acts 9:32 – Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda
Acts 2:14-36 – Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: … ” Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a Man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This Man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. … God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. … Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Q: In what ways have you been able to interact with non-believers and do some “fishing” for men?
12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
This was clearly a miracle rather than providence. If you remember back to our table on page 3, a miracle never fails and is immediate, whereas providence has a natural explanation.
People diagnosed with or suspected of leprosy were excluded from the community (Lev 13:45–46, Num 5:2–3). Contact with lepers had to be avoided and lepers had to warn others not to come close to them:
Leviticus 13:45-46 – “As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”
What a horrible life for the leper… Therefore this makes Jesus’ touching of the man (v13) significant.
J.C. Ryle says “We have in this wonderful history – a lively emblem of Christ’s power to heal our souls. What are we all, but spiritual lepers in the sight of God? Sin is the deadly leprosy by which we are all affected. It has eaten into our vitals. It has infected all our faculties…We are in one sense dead – long before we are laid in the grave. Our bodies may be healthy and active – but our souls are by nature dead in trespasses and sins! Who shall deliver us from this body of death? Let us thank God that Jesus Christ can! He is that divine Physician, who can make old things pass away, and all things become new. In Him is life. He can wash us thoroughly in His own blood – from all the defilement of sin. Let this truth sink down deeply into our hearts. There is only one medicine to heal our sin-sick souls … However corrupt our hearts, and however wicked our past lives – there is hope for us in the Gospel. There is no case of spiritual leprosy too hard for Christ!” Hallelujah!
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? – Charles Spurgeon
The Commitment of the Apostles Confirms the Truth of the Resurrection | Cold Case Christianity – Martyrdom doesn’t confirm the truth, especially when the martyrs don’t have first-hand access to the claim for which there dying. But this wasn’t the case for the disciples of Jesus. They were in a unique position: they knew if the claims about Jesus were true. They were present for the life, ministry, death and alleged resurrection of Jesus. If the claims about Jesus were a lie, the disciples would have known it (in fact they would have been the source of the lie). That’s why their commitment to their testimony was (and is) so compelling.: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/the-commitment-of-the-apostles-confirms-the-truth-of-the-resurrection/
Big Faith Questions conference (Local AZ) | Compass Christian Church – How can we ever know what religious beliefs are actually true? Well, it turns out there are ways to test religious claims. Join us to get equipped with the tools for testing any religious claims: https://compassaz.church/event/big-faith-questions-3/
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
There are thousands in the present day just as blind in their way as the Jews. They shut their eyes against the plainest facts and doctrines of Christianity. They pretend to say that they do not understand, and cannot therefore believe the things that we press on their attention, as needful to salvation. But, alas! in nineteen cases out of twenty it is a willful ignorance. They do not believe what they do not like to believe. – J.C. Ryle
6 E’s of authenticity Frank Turek at Cross Examined teaches 6 evidences to consider that give us confidence in the authority of scripture, all starting with the letter E for easy remembering. J.R. Cooper Author: https://jrcooper.org/2017/01/24/6-es-of-authenticity/
Christ’s deity in the New Testament – Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and atheists often argue, Jesus never claimed to be God. They assert that Christians have corrupted or misinterpreted the New Testament, or they reject the Bible outright. But for those willing to consider the eyewitness testimony of the New Testament writers, and the convincing evidence that their words are accurately preserved, we may point our unbelieving friends to seven ways that Jesus does, in fact, claim deity: https://mbcpathway.com/2020/12/26/christs-deity-in-the-new-testament/
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
If you’re following the Lord at a distance, you will end up in the miserable no-mans-land of compromise. And in that dismal place you will have too much of the Lord to be happy in the world, and too much of the world to be happy in the Lord. – Greg Laurie
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.Luke 6:41-42
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” (2 Cor. 13:5) Look well to your state; see whether you be in Christ or not. It is the easiest thing in the world to give a lenient verdict when oneself is to be tried; but O, be just and true here. Be just to all, but be rigorous to yourself. Remember if it be not a rock on which you build, when the house shall fall, great will be the fall of it. – Charles Spurgeon
God the Son-John 1 clarifies the Son is actually the very agent of creation and the eternal God himself. What C. S. Lewis describes as the central event of human history: the Son took on humanity, a mortal body from the Virgin Mary & a soul untainted by Adams sin. – BreakPoint: https://breakpoint.org/god-the-son-4/
The Virgin Shall Conceive: Why Isaiah 7:14 Confuses People-For many years, the prophecy that confused me most was Isaiah 7:14: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Every Christmas I heard pastors quote this, but none had ever explained its context. What confused me was that the next three verses say that the prophecy will be fulfilled within 14 years. If it was supposed to be fulfilled in the eighth century BC, how could it apply to Jesus?: https://www.jeanejones.net/2020/12/the-virgin-shall-conceive-why-isaiah-714-confuses-people/
Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:
Instead of complaining at his lot, a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. Instead of greedily desiring something more than the supply of his present need, he rejoices that God still cares for him. Such an one is “content” with such as he has (Heb. 13:5). – Arthur Pink 1886-1952
Who Was St. Nicholas? Nicholas was also hailed as a defender of orthodoxy. Later sources claim he was in attendance at the council of Nicaea. According to tradition, he was a staunch opponent of Arianism. Writing five centuries after his death, one biographer said, Thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas, the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as a death-dealing poison.: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/who-was-st-nicholas-2/
The Fossils Still Say No: The Cambrian Explosion – The Cambrian Explosion is a complete evolutionary enigma for a number of important reasons. First, incredibly complex animal life appeared suddenly and without any sign of preceding evolutionary ancestors. Second, many creatures that appeared in the Cambrian layers have living counterparts today that show no sign of evolution, a paradox evolutionists label living fossils. Third, tube worms (another living fossil) have been found in rocks just below the Cambrian, and their fossils yielded soft, pliable tissue. The fact that their tissue, along with many other examples, is still soft and undecayed indicates they were buried only thousands of years ago in the global Flood described in Genesis. Thus, according to a model of progressive burial by ecological zonation, we see that the Cambrian layers were the first to be deposited near the beginning of the global Flood in the sedimentary rock strata known by geologists as the Sauk Mega-sequence. The evidence provided by Cambrian fossils continues to say no to evolutionary expectations. | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/the-fossils-still-say-no-the-cambrian-explosion/
When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with Him; so He went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.” Luke 11:37-41
Genetic diversity on the Ark – First, we need to consider pre-Flood diversity. We have no idea how much genetic diversity existed among most animal kinds. Humans are a little different because we know we started with two people and we know the population was reduced to eight people 1,600 years later, at the Flood. In fact, we can model the genetic effects of the Flood and the post-Flood time period on humans. But we cannot do this for animals because we simply do not know the underlying population genetics. We cannot assume God created two of every animal. All we know is two of each were on the Ark, and we do not know how closely related the pairs were. – creation.com: https://creation.com/ark-genetic-diversity
Beginner’s Guide to Arguing Constructively – although not a Christian apologetics article, the concepts and strategies listed here can certainly aid us in our biblical mandate to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), to make a defense of the faith with gentleness and resect (1 Peter 3:15) and to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3): http://liamrosen.com/arguments.html
A Win in the Race for Girls’ Sports – In the real world, a couple of seconds aren’t much. In track and field, they’re the difference between first and last place. When Franklin Pierce University’s Cece Telfer sprinted through the finish line well ahead of the women’s field at 2019’s Division II national championships, he insisted he didn’t have a biological advantage. His competition, girls who trained their whole careers for this moment, disagreed. Thanks to a hugely controversial transgender athletic policy, they all missed out at the chance for collegiate glory. And this month, more than a year later, justice may finally be won.: https://www.frcaction.org/get.cfm?i=WA20J43&f=WU20J10
Gender and Sexuality in the 2020 Election. A wide range of issues such as the economy, health care, trade, immigration, and national security will be affected by the elections outcome. Issues related to sexuality and gender such as how sex is defined in federal statutes, whether individuals with gender dysphoria can serve in the military, and whether sexual orientation and gender identity become protected categories in federal civil rights law will be significantly influenced as well. – CBMW: https://cbmw.org/2020/06/10/gender-and-sexuality-in-the-2020-election/
Joe Biden’s Education Department Would Be A Radical Disaster-Given Biden’s personal embrace of far-left cultural notions regarding sex and gender, it’s fair to assume his Education Department would swiftly implement a sweeping and radical agenda across the board. The gravity of this issue is wildly out of proportion with the small amount of attention its receiving in the broader conversation about this election.: https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/20/joe-bidens-education-department-would-be-a-radical-disaster/
No More Misunderstandings. This is not a Christian article, but it is helpful as we interact with those who do not share our worldview. It focuses on the technique of paraphrasing what someone says to you in order to prevent misunderstandings. – Small Big Ideas: https://smallbigideas.substack.com/p/no-more-misunderstandings
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23
Here is a random quote (of over 1800) from Nuggets:
To say all sins are the same is to confuse the effect of sin with the heinousness of sin. While all sins are equal in their effect (they separate us from God), they are not all equally heinous. – Michael Krueger
Feathered pterosaurs. As far back as 1868, evolutionists such as Thomas Huxley taught that birds evolved from dinosaurs long before there was any evidence of fossil feathered dinosaur candidates. So it was a theory that had little supporting evidence. – creation.com: https://creation.com/feathered-pterosaurs
Cell cycle – The cell cycle is one of the most important biological processes. It describes how cells multiply in number by duplicating the information in the parent cell before dividing into two daughter cells. There are over 10 trillion cells in the human body, and the cell cycle must work efficiently and accurately to increase and differentiate different types of tissues. Evolutionists admit that the origin of the first cell is one of the most difficult problems for their theory. – creation.com: https://creation.com/cell-cycle
Biblical Worldview Series (from the Family Research Council). Covers 4 topics: Biblical Principles For Political Engagement, Biblical Principles For Human Sexuality, Biblical Principles For Pro-Life Engagement, Biblical Principles For Religious Liberty (each section has Full Publication, Prayer Guide and Abbreviated Version). Take advantage of these excellent (free) resources!: https://frc.org/get.cfm?c=WORLDVIEW
Does God Exist? 4 New Arguments. Science tells us that the universe came into being via The Big Bang. But how do you get from energy and matter to a self-aware human being? That takes three additional Big Bangs that science can’t explain. Noted theologian, Frank Pastore, unravels this compelling mystery and, in the process, poses the ultimate question that every thinking person must face. – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIorXcloIac
God vs. Atheism: Which is More Rational? Belief in God, according to atheists, is irrational, illogical, and dumb. Belief that the universe created itself is, they say, intelligent, rational, and based in science. This is simply false. Nothing can create itself. Everything has a cause–including the universe. That cause, argues Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, is God, the “unmoved mover.” Belief in God, as Kreeft shows, is more rational than belief in nothing. Logic, science, and reason, support God. Atheism, as you’ll see, is far more steeped in blind faith than is belief. – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM
The God portrayed in the Bible isn’t easy to understand, but what if we could better understand what it is that we can’t understand? In this video, we will explore the complex identity of God displayed in the storyline of the Bible, and (surprise!) it all leads to Jesus. – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAvYmE2YYIU
Leibniz Contingency Argument – We live in an amazing universe. Have you ever wondered why it exists? Why does anything at all exist? Gottfried Leibniz wrote, The first question which should rightly be asked is: Why is there something rather than nothing? He came to the conclusion that the explanation is found in God. But is this reasonable?P1: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.P2: If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.P3: The universe exists. From these it follows logically that the explanation of the universes existence is God. The logic of this argument is air tight. If the 3 premises are true, the conclusion is unavoidable. But are they more plausibly true than false? The third premise is undeniable for anyone seeking truth. But what about the first premise? Why not say, The universe is just there, and that’s all? No explanation needed! End of discussion! – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPCzEP0oD7I
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household – Ephesians 2:17-19
Always Ready: Answers to Tough Questions (October 3, 2020). How you answer the tough questions makes all the difference in the world. What will you say when your friends ask about your faith? Do you have the confidence to defend the hope you have in Christ? Watch Always Ready, a special livestream created to help students aged twelve to eighteen share their faith and stand firm for the truth of God’s Word. Is the Bible still relevant? Since God is good, why do we suffer? Is Jesus the only way to salvation? Eric Bancroft, Nathan W. Bingham, Joel Kim, Stephen Nichols, and Burk Parsons will help equip you to better answer these important questions and more. – YouTube (2 ½ hour conference by Ligonier Ministries): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz5-Xanb4KQ
Here is a random quote (of over 1800) from Nuggets:
Why didn’t God create all humans to be Christians? My answer: God wanted beings who would love Him. Love is only possible among free will beings. Hence, God created us with the freedom to choose who we want to relate to and who we want to avoid. – Hugh Ross
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back–whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.” Mark 13:32-36
Here is a random quote (of over 1800) from Nuggets:
O SAVIOUR OF SINNERS, Make me to abhor that which grieves thy Holy Spirit, to suspect consolations of a worldly nature, to shun a careless way of life, to reprove evil, to instruct with meekness those who oppose me, to be gentle and patient towards all men, to be not only a professor but an example of the gospel. – Valley of Vision
Here is are 2 random quotes (of over 1800) from Nuggets:
If we determined that becoming a scientist did cause people to drop their belief in God, we might have reason to think there is some inherent conflict between the practice of science and theism. But to the contrary, Ecklund’s Religion among Academic Scientists Study showed that the irreligious are simply more likely to become scientists in the first place. – Natasha Crain (Talking with your kids about God)
Without conversion there is no salvation. We all need an entire change of nature. Of ourselves we have neither faith, nor fear, nor love towards God. “We must be born again.” Of ourselves we are utterly unfit for dwelling in God’s presence. Heaven would be no heaven to us if we were not converted. – J.C. Ryle
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Mark 10:32-34
August Newsletter 2020 (Dr. James Dobson) – America’s Civil Wars-Then and Now – What an ominous time this is for our 244-year-old republic. Its future hangs in the balance. The choices we make on November 3rd will send this nation down one of two dramatically different paths. The wrong decision will be catastrophic. I agree with former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who said recently that the next election will be “the most important since 1860.”: https://www.drjamesdobson.org/about/august-newsletter-2020
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
Here is a random quote (of over 1700) from Nuggets:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, in the end, Thy will be done. All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. – C. S. Lewis
Tim Keller on how to bring the Gospel to post Christian America – 1 hour conversation. There are parts of this talk that I don’t agree with, but overall, I think there are enough good perspectives here to include it in the weekly links: https://youtu.be/zNve3Hexh28
A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies. Proverbs 12:17
What, Me Worry? Alfred E. Neumann, the famous face of Mad Magazine for many decades, popularized this slogan. While he wasn’t referring to the question of salvation, this saying does seem to describe the way many people view that question today. Yes, there may be a God; they will concede. But I’m not worried, they say. I’m a good person, after all, and God will judge me accordingly.: https://crossexamined.org/what-me-worry/
Origin Stories RNA, DNA, and a Dose of Imagination – A new paper in Nature seeks to shed light on life’s origins from non-life on the early Earth, that is, on abiogenesis. Several outlets have picked up the story, including New Scientist. Phys.org explains that the research, led by Cambridge scientists, shows for the first time how some of the building blocks of both DNA and RNA could have spontaneously formed and co-existed in the primordial soup on Earth. | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2020/06/origin-stories-rna-dna-and-a-dose-of-imagination/