Tag Archives: Church

How to be an alpha male and signal manliness without being a promiscuous predator

Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her
Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her

These days, there seems to be a perception that in order to be an alpha male, you have to become a pick-up artist and sleep with a whole bunch of fatherless women, then ghost them (don’t talk to them any more). But as a Christian man, that’s all off-limits to me. Still, my best friend Dina tells me that I am an alpha male, despite being a virgin. How can that be?

In this post, I’m going to lay out three ways for a Christian man to be an alpha male without being a promiscuous predator who preys on vulnerable fatherless girls.

1. Never let a woman override your vision to serve Christ

It can be challenging to project the attitude of aloofness that women associate with strength while still being a good, moral man. One way to do that is to self-sacrificially invest your time, money and effort into some enterprise that benefits Christ. For example, in my case, I’ve invested time in learning apologetics, having a blog as a platform, and giving charity to invest in organizations to do apologetics events. I was pressured from Christian women to “tone it down” for their friends and family. I was also pressured to redirect my attention from apologetics to their need to have a good time (travel, zip-lining, skydiving, surfing were mentioned as good ways to spend my money on them). Alpha males don’t give up their mission in order to get the girl.

It is tempting for a man to let a woman re-focus his time, money and effort on giving her what she wants. If she is his wife, then some of that will be legitimate, just as some government spending is legitimate because it is Constitutional. A man should love his wife, protect her and provide for her. But he should not be distracted for other frivolous priorities that have nothing to do with a Christian marriage plan. Christian women often absorb secular left priorities from the culture, and they expect Christian men to give them what the culture says they ought to want or need, e.g. – putting the kids in daycare and public schools so she can have a career like her non-Christian friends. Alpha males put their own vision above what the secular left culture says they should be doing.

2. Never let a woman disrespect your leadership / mentoring role

It’s important for you to have areas of your life where you actually know what you are talking about, and have demonstrated success at mentoring others. In my case, those areas are education, career and finances. I have invested time in learning what to study. And I achieved a BS and MS in computer science. I have invested time in learning how to interview, what skills to train, and what jobs to take, and how to keep a job. And I achieved a 20-year+ gap-less resume with good companies, using good skills. I have chosen not to borrow money at interest (ever), not to spend money on travel / fun / thrills, and to invest early and often. And I have achieved a six-figure income and will have a 7-figure net worth by my mid-forties. A man needs to have areas like that where he studies and achieves, so that he knows how to advise others, and has a record of successful mentoring.

I sometimes mentor women. Some of them listen to me and some do not. I’ve gotten women to drop their non-STEM majors to study engineering or computer science. I’ve gotten women to stop wasting money on fun and thrills, in order to pay off their debts and start investing and giving to charity. I’ve gotten women to dump hot bad boys who would not commit, and choose commitment-minded men. I’ve gotten women to quit bad jobs in order to take better jobs. In the areas where I have demonstrated competence, I expect women to respect my leadership, even if it makes them feel bad in the short term. Men signal alpha male status when they obtain good results in their mentoring activities.

Also, I’m just going to throw this out there: “spiritual leadership” does not mean telling a woman that God really is speaking to her through her feelings, when she wants to make impulsive, impractical decisions that are likely to result in failure.

3. Never let a woman stop you from expressing your moral convictions

In the 2012 election, most single / unmarried  / divorced women voted pro-abortion and pro-gay-marriage.

Excerpt:

NBC News national exit polling shows that 67 percent of unmarried women said they voted for Obama. That’s in line with the 2008 election, when 70 percent of single women helped usher the president into office. This proves it wasn’t a single-election phenomenon: unmarried women have solidified into a powerful voting force, experts say.

[…]By the way — this isn’t just young women, Maatz pointed out. Many of the single women voters were over 50 — divorced, widowed or never married.

These women voted for a candidate who voted multiple times for infanticide as a state senator in Illinois. Why is this? Well, young unmarried women are more influenced by feelings like compassion. They tend to see themselves as “exempt” from moral standards, because they are constantly told that they are “special”. They tend to see the predictable consequences of poor choices as “unexpected”, causing them to think that people aren’t responsible for their own poor choices. As a result, they tend to be more progressive in their voting, and less Christian in their moral convictions.

A man can signal his alpha male status to women by being bold and persuasive on moral issues (and issues of policy that touch on moral issues). This may not work on all women, but it will work on the ones he should be interested in for wife and mother roles. Men should never just express their feelings about moral issues, or just tell about their experiences. Men ought to go further, and make logical arguments supported by scientific evidence. Instead of sharing “their opinion” (subjective), they ought to press those who disagree to change their minds. It is the studying of arguments and evidence that allows the Christian man to signal alpha male status when these moral issues are debated.

Conclusion

My friend Dina likes to say that the essence of manliness is when a man refuses to let a woman redirect him away from his vision and his moral convictions by using sex, sexual attraction, the promise of sex, or by withholding sex (from her husband). I think men can learn something from her definition. Women are useful as helpers, but we shouldn’t automatically assume that they are wise and virtuous, and give them the authority to rule over us in areas where we ought to lead. Dina also says never to trust women’s words, when deciding whether they will respect your leadership in your vision and moral convictions. Before you marry a woman, you must observe her taking the initiative to perform independent actions that help you with your vision – actions that go against her own feelings and desires. The most important part about being an alpha male is not losing your alpha male status by marrying someone who won’t respect it.

Why is it so difficult for a working man to be sole provider and leader of a home?

Welfare spending
Welfare spending

So, I’ve noticed that many men who are interested in marriage have been running into problems with their plans. One challenge is the problem of the financial costs of marriage. In order to undertake a marriage enterprise, men have to believe that they can pay the bills. And this is especially challenging to men who want a stay-at-home wife to raise their children.

*Please note that I am talking about unmarried (never married, divorced) women throughout this post.

Here’s my argument for why I think that feminism has made it harder for men to afford to get married:

  1. Feminism caused no-fault divorce.
  2. No-fault divorce laws led to more frequent divorces.
  3. Divorced women turn to government for financial support.
  4. Taxes increase in order to pay for more government spending.
  5. Men who were interested in marriage were hit with higher taxes, which made marriage enterprise financially unfeasible for them.

Here’s the evidence for each point.

1. Feminism was behind no-fault divorce, according to this feminist, pro-no-fault-divorce writer.

Excerpt:

Households of 2010 don’t look quite like they did in 1969, when no-fault divorce actually was a controversial topic and these counter-arguments held some weight. The working dad/stay-at-home mom model of the middle class has been replaced by two-parent earner households and a growing number of working mom/stay-at-home dad arrangements. In working poor and impoverished families, the one-parent provider model was never the norm. No-fault divorce seemed scary when it had never before existed, but the truth is that its introduction was long overdue. Feminist groups at the time supported no-fault divorce, as it provided women an escape hatch from desperately unhappy marriages in a society where they were already disadvantaged on almost every level, regardless of their marital status. Imagine an abusive marriage in 1968, when the court-savvy abuser could actually force the victim to stay in the relationship forever. Imagine that now, and you know why domestic violence attorneys are in full support of introducing no-fault divorce to New York. And the judges aren’t the only problem.

Note that the author of this piece thinks that it is not women’s fault that they choose men who they then want to divorce. It’s not the woman’s fault that she is unhappy with the man she courted with and then chose and then made vows to. She isn’t responsible for choosing a good man with chastity, sobriety, moral convictions, etc. She thinks that women shouldn’t be held responsible for their choices. Also, feminists think that children do fine without fathers.

2. Easier divorces means more divorces.

Abstract:

This paper analyzes a panel of 18 European countries spanning from 1950 to 2003 to examine the extent to which the legal reforms leading to “easier divorce” that took place during the second half of the 20th century have contributed to the increase in divorce rates across Europe. We use a quasi-experimental set-up and exploit the different timing of the reforms in divorce laws across countries. We account for unobserved country-specific factors by introducing country fixed effects, and we include country-specific trends to control for time-varying factors at the country level that may be correlated with divorce rates and divorce laws, such as changing social norms or slow moving demographic trends. We find that the different reforms that “made divorce easier” were followed by significant increases in divorce rates. The effect of no-fault legislation was strong and permanent, while unilateral reforms only had a temporary effect on divorce rates. Overall, we estimate that the legal reforms account for about 20 percent of the increase in divorce rates in Europe between 1960 and 2002.

It seems obvious, but more evidence never hurts. About 70% of divorces are initiated by women, either because they chose to marry the wrong man, or because they become unhappy with the right man.

3. Marital instability causes women to vote for bigger government for security.

Excerpt:

Giving women the right to vote significantly changed American politics from the very beginning. Despite claims to the contrary, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue, and these effects continued growing as more women took advantage of the franchise. Similar changes occurred at the federal level as female suffrage led to more liberal voting records for the state’s U.S. House and Senate delegations. In the Senate, suffrage changed voting behavior by an amount equal to almost 20 percent of the difference between Republican and Democratic senators. Suffrage also coincided with changes in the probability that prohibition would be enacted and changes in divorce laws.

[…]More work remains to be done on why women vote so differently, but our initial work provides scant evidence that it is due to self-interest arising from their employment by government. The only evidence that we found indicated that the gender gap in part arises from women’s fear that they are being left to raise children on their own (Lott and Kenny 1997). If this result is true, the continued breakdown of the family and higher divorce rates imply growing political conflicts between the sexes.

Bigger government must be paid for by higher taxes, which makes it harder for one working man’s income to provide for a family. In fact, feminists wanted men to be displaced as sole-providers. They would prefer that women are “equal” to men, and that means making women get out and work like men. It was no concern of theirs that children would be raised by strangers in daycares and government schools.

4. Women are in fact observed to vote for bigger government.

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, the nation made history. It made history in electing the first African American president; it made history in building a bigger margin for the first female Speaker of the House; it made history in delivering the biggest Democratic margin since 1964; it made history in sending a record number of people to the polls and the highest percentage turnout since the 1960 election. Analysts will spend the next few months sifting through the data, trying to figure out what happened and why. Historians will likely spend the next several years and decades studying this election, as well. But one thing is immediately clear. Unmarried women played a pivotal role in making this history and in changing this nation. They delivered a stunning 70 to 29 percent margin to Barack Obama and delivered similarly strong margins in races for Congress and the U.S. Senate. Although unmarried women have voted Democratic consistently since marital status has been was tracked, this election represents the highest margin recorded and a 16-point net gain at the Presidential level from 2004.

In fact, there was a recent (2011) study showing that unmarried women do in fact vote for higher taxes and more government as a substitute for a husband’s provider role.

Abstract:

The last three decades have witnessed the rise of a political gender gap in the United States wherein more women than men favor the Democratic party. We trace this development to the decline in marriage, which we posit has made men richer and women poorer. Data for the United States support this argument. First, there is a strong positive correlation between state divorce prevalence and the political gender gap – higher divorce prevalence reduces support for the Democrats among men but not women. Second, longitudinal data show that following marriage (divorce), women are less (more) likely to support the Democratic party.

What follows from voting Democrat?

If more people vote for Democrats then we will get higher taxes to pay for all the government spending. Higher taxes means that a married man can no longer retain enough of his earnings to support a family. And that means his wife has to work, and that means that his children will learn what the daycare workers and government school teachers decide they should learn.

But what do men want out of marriage? Men don’t want to marry a stressed-out competitor, and be yelled at in their own home. They want a homemaker who is focused on her husband and children. They want their children raised by someone who shares their worldview. Men want to produce moral, influential, independent children. Men want to be respected in their homes as sole provider. Men marry in order to lead on moral and spiritual issues. And men understand that a woman who doesn’t work outside the home usually makes a more feminine, supportive partner in the marriage enterprise.

If society, including the parents of daughters and the pastors of daughters, have decided that women don’t have to care about what men want out of marriage, then they should not be surprised that men don’t want marriage. Men may have no-commitment temporary sexual relationships with a secular left feminist who has been focused on her own feminist projects: travel, student loans, promiscuity, career, etc. But they certainly do not marry those women. When it comes to marriage, men want women who embrace the roles of wife and mother. And unlike shoes and handbags, we get a vote about whether or not the marriage happens.

What did early church fathers think about abortion and infanticide?

Unborn Baby - 10 weeks old
Unborn Baby – 10 weeks old

I noticed that the Southern Baptists over at ERLC had a post up which seemed to say that preaching against abortion was morally wrong, because it hurts women’s feelings. This didn’t seem like a very traditional Christian view to me.

The author Phoebe Cates writes:

So, you don’t have to post internet memes and videos, display bumper stickers, or make rude comments to tell me how terrible abortion is. Nor do you need to shout it from street corners or pulpits—I know. My mother knows. Over 66% of women know.

I quoted her from Pulpit and Pen, and it looks like the post has been edited to remove this shaming of pro-life apologists.

The author thinks that women do think abortion is wrong, despite the fact that young, unmarried women vote overwhelmingly for abortion rights in elections. Her goal doesn’t seem to be to convince women not to have abortions by making a case for the right to life of the unborn. Her goal seems to be to stop Christians from making women feel judged when they kill their children. Her focus is on women’s feelings, not the right to life of unwanted children.

The church has been changing a lot lately to accept the teachings of radical feminism. Radical feminism urges women to abandon chastity, delay marriage, get on birth control, and have reckless recreational sex with attractive, no-commitment men, while pursuing their careers. And abortion is fine with these Christians, because they think it’s just a method of birth control to be used to help women to avoid being “punished with a baby” as Obama said. The concern of these Christians about abortion isn’t that it kills babies, it’s that women feel judged when they kill babies.

So, what did Christians used to believe about protecting children before they tossed out the Bible for radical feminism?

This is from Birds of the Air.

Summary:

Recently I came across a reading of the Didache. “The what?” you may ask. The Didache is a book written somewhere in the first or second century. For a long time it was up for consideration as Scripture. It was believed to be the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Eventually it was agreed that the book was an excellent book, but not inspired Scripture. So I was pleased to be able to download this admirable book containing good teachings from the early Church fathers.

The book seemed to be largely a lot of quotes from Scripture. You’ll learn the basic rules of Christianity — “First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself.” You’ll learn that “grave sins” are forbidden, like adultery, murder, fornication, and so on. (They specifically include pederasty in the list.) There are instructions regarding teachers, prophets, Christian assembly, and so on. Lots of the normal, good stuff. But, since this was written sometime prior to 200 AD, I was somewhat surprised at this instruction: “You shall not murder a child by abortion” (Didache, Ch 2).

I got curious about what babies look like when they are just a few weeks old, so I went looking for pictures of them.

This post from Life News has ten excellent pictures of life inside the womb.

Here’s my favorite from 10 weeks:

Unborn Baby - 10 weeks old

Unborn Baby – 10 weeks old

This is a first trimester baby!

I decided to go hunting to see what is developed at this time, and found this list:

  • From this week until birth, the developing organism is called a fetus.
  • The fetus is now the size of a small strawberry.
  • The feet are 2mm long (one tenth of an inch).
  • The neck is beginning to take shape.
  • The body muscles are almost developed. Baby has begun movement.
  • While still too small for you to feel, your little one is wriggling and shifting.
  • The jaws are in place. The mouth cavity and the nose are joined.
  • The ears and nose can now be seen clearly.
  • Fingerprints are already evident in the skin.
  • Nipples and hair follicles begin to form.

The unborn baby is now called a fetus. Though the fetus is constantly moving, you will not be able to actually feel fetal movement for several more weeks. All of the organs, muscles, and nerves are in place and beginning to function. As the hands and feet develop fingers and toes, they have lost their paddle like look. The touch pads on the fingers form and already have fingerprints.

During this week of pregnancy the crown to rump length of the fetus is 0.9 inch to 1.2 inches (22 to 30mm), weight 0.07 ounce (2gm). They are now on the way to forming their testicles or ovaries, getting ready for the next generation. Until the ninth week of fetus development, the fetal reproductive apparatus is the same one for the both sexes. The head is still large and curves into chest.

Each week your uterus grows larger with the baby growing inside it. You may begin to see your waistline growing thicker by this time. A pelvic exam will detect that your uterus has grown from it’s normal, size of your fist, to a little bigger than a grapefruit.

Fascinating!

Court rules that father must affirm that his son is a girl

Most people today who have noticed that men are hesitant to get married, or even get into relationships, with women. But few outside of the men’s rights movement are aware of the real reasons. Although it’s fashionable to mock men as weaklings for their cautiousness with women and marriage, it takes a little more work to look beyond the insults and find the real root causes.

So, with that in mind, consider this story from the red state of Texas, about a man whose ex-wife took him to court to force their 7-year-old boy to transition (via drugs and surgery) to becoming female.

Here’s the first from Life Site News, posted in December 2018:

A six-year-old Texas boy is being dressed and presented as a girl by his mother; at the same time, she is threatening the boy’s father legally for not going along with her plan for their son to live as a girl.

J4m35 lives as a girl when with his mother, but when with his father and given the choice, the six-year-old boy lives as a boy.

Court order:

J3ffr3y Y0ng3r is currently prohibited by court order from affirming in any way his son’s sex, including imparting Christian teaching on gender and sexuality to J4m35.

Child abuse charges against the father for disapproving:

4nn3 G30rgu1a5 has charged Y0ng3r, her ex-husband and J4m35’s father, with child abuse for not affirming their son as a transgender “girl,” according to court documents.

Restraining order blocking father’s contact with the boys:

She has also sought restraining orders against Y0ng3r, she is trying to terminate his parental rights, and also seeks to compel Y0ng3r to pay for J4m35’s visits with a transgender-affirming therapist and for medical procedures to “transition” J4m35 to a girl.

Chemical castration and sex-reassignment surgery:

The controversial “treatment” could include hormonal sterilization that could begin in as soon as two years when J4m35 turns eight, in preparation for J4m35 to later have “sexual reassignment” surgery.

Father loses all parental rights:

The court has awarded her the sole right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of J4m35 and his twin brother Jude, rendering the boys’ father unable to get a second opinion.

Child Protective Services:

Y0ng3r is even prohibited from cutting his sons’ hair, having been reported by a teacher to Texas Child Protective Services for giving J4m35 a haircut.

Father gets the bill:

Since the cost for psychological and psychiatric treatment of children is considered child support in Texas, a website on the case created by friends of the family says, and current Texas statutes being what they are, Y0ng3r could be “forced to pay for the sexual mutilation of his own son.”

And here is the latest from Life Site News about the outcome of the trial:

A jury has ruled against J3ffr3y Y0ng3r, the father who is trying to protect his seven-year-old son, J4m35, from chemical castration via a gender “transition.”

[…]The jury’s decision likely means that Mr. Y0ng3r will be required to “affirm” J4m35 as a girl, despite his religious and moral objections, and will also be forced to take a class on transgenderism.

Although it was a jury trial, I just want to point out that the judge overseeing the trial is a woman, and G30rgu1a5 has two female lawyers leading the questioning of witnesses.  The therapist who diagnosed the boy with gender dysphoria is also a (gay) woman, and founder of Da11as Ra1nb0w C0uns3l1ng. So a panel of women is overruling the wishes of the child’s father for his son, and this apparently isn’t a problem for anyone.

The American Conservative noted that G30rgu1a5 is not the biological mother of the boys. They were conceived with Y0ng3r’s sperm and eggs from an egg donor. This is an immediate red flag to me, as women who use IVF are often feminists who deliberately delayed child-bearing during their fertile years for their careers.

By the way, the story has also been reported in The Blaze, the Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Christian Post, etc.

Support for gay marriage by gender (Source: Pew Research 2019)
Support for gay marriage by gender (Source: Pew Research 2019)

My thoughts

First, everyone who reads this blog knows that I am forever blaming women for their poor choice of men, and poor choices of when to have sex. Well, it works exactly the same in reverse: Jeff Y0ng3r should not have married this woman. I blame him for this mess.

Second, there is no concern in the church about the challenges facing marriage-minded men in this society. Christian men receive no support from the church when they try to lead on moral or spiritual issues that conflict with women’s emotions and preference for non-judgmentalism. In my opinion, it’s very likely that if I were somehow married to this crazy lady, that my church would side with her against me, just because she is a woman. After all, what are people learning in church about male headship or defenses against feminism or LGBT? NOTHING. The church’s goal is to produce feelings and community. They prioritize essential oils and praise hymns. What good is that to me against  an army of anti-Christian teachers, doctors, therapists, lawyers, judges, and powerful gay rights groups? I’m not going to get involved in a situation where I am wasting a lot of time and money losing legal battles.

Finally, I just wanted to point out that marriage-minded men are aware of how the government is stepping in and overruling their authority as fathers and husbands. It’s not just in obvious ways, like no-fault divorce, higher taxes, big government meddling in families, Equality Act, etc. It’s also in subtle ways, e.g. – men are forced to pay into a public school system that is dominated by secular leftist administrators and teachers. Stories like the one above show a growing intrusion by government into Christian men’s lives, which is made possible by higher taxes and more government spending. The money for big government intrusions comes out of Christian homes. The bigger the government, the less money and fewer degrees of freedom the husband / father has to execute his plan. And this is something we have to address if we expect Christian men to take the risk of getting married and having kids. “Man up and jump off this cliff that feminism and socialism has made!” isn’t going to cut it.

Non-Christian historian Bart Ehrman attended a Christian apologetics conference

Are we allowed to look at the Bible as a historical document?
Are we allowed to look at the Bible as a historical document?

My summaries of Bart Ehrman’s debates mock him for being a rigid Moody Bible Institute fundamentalist whose blind faith was shattered by 1) minor Bible difficulties, 2) disappointment that God allows good people to suffer, 3) wanting to look smart to his professors, and 4) the desire to make lots of money selling apostasy porn to the New York Times set. But maybe he is not as bad as I thought.

Consider this blog post in which Ehrman reports on his experiences at a recent apologetics conference, where he met with a few of the more effective and engaging evangelical scholars.

He writes:

I spent yesterday at a conservative evangelical apologetics conference outside of Chicago and, as you might imagine, I was the odd person out. But I was very well received, people were overwhelmingly gracious and receptive and openly grateful that I had come. There were jokes about being thrown into the lions’ den, but it didn’t really feel like it. It felt like I was speaking to a crowd that wanted to hear, respected what I said, and simply fundamentally disagreed. In particular there was a group of current Moody Bible Institute students there; really interesting, interested, and good humored, and we had a great time together.

What I was most interested in was how Christian apologetics – the intelligent “defense” of the claims of the faith – has changed in the many years since I was involved in the movement, shifted in ways I never would have imagined, very much away from our old fundamentalist assumptions and assertions into a far more reasonable and intellectually sustainable form of discourse that requires actual research and knowledge rather than hard-core theological assertion based on completely dubious premises.

[…]The issue at the conference were the “Contradictions” in the New Testament. How does one deal with apparent or real contradictions and still remain committed to an evangelical view of Scripture as inspired by God and in some sense “inerrant”?

[…]The discussions yesterday (well, most of them) were at a much, much higher academic/intellectual level than ones I’ve had, say, during a recent debate on the blog. I think some of the positions staked out yesterday were utterly, demonstrably, mind-bogglingly simply WRONG. But they were advanced with the kind of learning and historical knowledge that we simply didn’t see back in my apologetics days in the mid-1970s.

Roughly speaking I was hearing two positions, neither of them ones we were taught and advanced in the day (in my circles). One of the two strikes me as completely tenable, though again, only in a sense.

Our old position, back then, was that any contradiction in the New Testament Gospels (or the Bible, for that matter; but yesterday we were talking only about the Gospels) can in fact be reconciled if you look closely and deeply enough at the matter. ANY contradiction. To be sure, there may be places where you aren’t sure HOW to reconcile them, but in principle they are all reconcilable in one way or another.

And, as a corollary, everything the Bible says is literally true. There are no mistakes, of any kind, whatsoever, in the Bible.

[…]None of the three speakers yesterday has that view, even though they call the Bible inerrant and affirm that it is completely reliable. Their views strike me as odd – that they can admit there are, technically speaking, incorrect statements in the Bible but that it is still without error. But they consider my old view (no mistakes of any kind whatsoever) as a dated kind of fundamentalism that is simply not held by thinking Christians any more, and, even more interesting, that my objections to their views are rooted in fundamentalist views that I myself don’t accept but that I’m assuming in order to attack their alternative views. In other words, they think I’m kicking a dead horse.

Interesting.

And here are the two views that were presented:

One is indeed to “reconcile” them as best as possible; or, the term they appear to prefer, “harmonize” them: that is take the two texts that appear to contradict each other and show how they actually fit together, possibly in a complicated way, into a harmonized whole so that they round out and complement each other, rather than stand at odds with one another.

[…]The current view seems to be much more open to the possibility that there are places that we simply can’t figure it out, places that do appear to be contradictory. And here is the KICKER. When they (the evangelicals who take this view) admit there are apparent contradictions, then they say that the details are not important. What matters is the major message. The ultimate point. The big picture. The gist. The gist of what a passage is trying to teach is what is inspired and inerrant. Not the picayune details.

That is to say – a phrase you hear a lot in these circles – “the Bible is inerrant in what it affirms.” That is, it makes no mistakes in what what it is trying to teach.

So you might have a story in which Jesus heals someone, found, say, in both Matthew and Luke. There may be small contradictory details: in one he heals the person before he does this other thing, in the other he heals the person after he does the other thing. Small discrepancy. But the story is not trying to teach *when* Jesus did the miracle. It’s trying to teach that he did the miracle. And it is inerrant about that. He *did* do the miracle.

We never ever would have allowed that back in my days at Moody Bible Institute. But it’s becoming a thinking-person’s view among evangelicals who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, apparently.

But the other change – the second position – strikes me as even more significant, a real step toward traditional scholarship, which tries to explain WHY there are contradictions, and then goes on to say that since we know why they are there, they are not really contradictions.

The reason I am posting this is because we are facing a problem in the church, the problem of massive numbers of young people leaving Christianity:

Christianity continues to decline among U.S. adults as the number of adults identifying as “nothing in particular” increases, Pew Research Center found.

The number of American adults who describe themselves as Christian dropped 12 percentage points over the past decade and the number of both Protestants and Catholics in the U.S. has dropped, according to Pew Research data released Thursday.

Surveys Pew conducted over the phone between 2018 and 2019 found 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian. Meanwhile, 26% of American adults identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” a number that increased from 17% in 2009.

“The data shows that the trend toward religious disaffiliation documented in the Center’s 2007 and 2014 Religious Landscape Studies, and before that in major national studies like the General Social Survey (GSS), has continued apace,” according to Pew.

I was recently at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics, where I saw a debate featuring Michael Licona. Licona is an informed historian who published a book with Oxford University Press about differences in the gospels and the genre of ancient biography.

A video of the debate is here:

Licona argues that ALL ancient authors used “compositional devices” such as “time compression”, which would explain the differences between the gospel accounts. These compositional devices are found in the works of other authors of that period. Most people I polled in the audience liked both debaters, but they thought that Mike Licona won. Licona also emphasized over and over, in his speech, how questions about contradictions, gospel authorship, etc. do not undermine the core of Christianity, which is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. This is important, because even questions about peripheral issues should not affect the core, which is on solid historical grounds.

I think Ehrman’s post shows why apologetics is important for having productive conversations with non-Christians about the Christian worldview. Remember what happened to Antony Flew when someone took the time to share the evidence for a cosmic beginning and fine-tuning and origin of life with him. Bye-bye atheism. This is how the world really works – evidence is important to finding truth. Evangelism works best when we use reason and evidence to make our case that the Christian worldview is true.

We are living in a time when belief in God has been boosted by significant discoveries in the realm of science: origin of the universe, fine-tuning, habitability, origin of life, Cambrian explosion, molecular machines, etc. We have amazing work coming out of philosophers of religion like Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, etc. And now we are seeing ground-breaking, high-quality work coming out of scholars like Richard Bauckham, N.T. Wright, Craig Keener, and Michael Licona. When is the church going to realize the importance of scholarly research for evangelism?