Tag Archives: Experience

William Lane Craig discusses faith and reason with university students

This is an interview of Dr. William Lane Craig before college students at the University of Central Florida. (95 minutes)

You can get an MP3 of the lecture here. (33 MB)

Questions from the interviewer: (40 minutes)

  • What started you on his journey of studying faith and reason?
  • How would you define the word “faith”?
  • Are faith and reason compatible? How are they related?
  • How can reasonable faith help us to avoid the two extremes of superstition and nihilism?
  • Who makes the best arguments against the Christian faith?
  • Why are angry atheists like Dawkins and Hitchens more well known than better-informed academic atheists?
  • Does the Bible require Christians to give the unbeliever reasons for their faith?
  • How does faith spur Christians to think carefully about the big questions in life?
  • Should the American church prod churchgoers to develop their minds so they can engage the secular culture?
  • When talking about Christianity intellectually, is there a risk of neglecting the experience of being a Christian?
  • Which Christian apologist has shaped your thinking the most?
  • Which Christian philosopher has shaped your thinking the most?
  • Does the confidence that comes from apologetics undermine humility and reverence?
  • If you had to sketch out a 5 minute case for Christianity, what would you present?
  • Can non-Christians use their reason to arrive at truth?
  • Are there cases where atheists must affirm irrational things in order to remain atheists?
  • Can the universe have existed eternal, so that there is no need to explain who created it?
  • Even if you persuade someone that Christianity is true, does that mean they will live it out?

There is also a long period of questions, many of them hostile, from the audience of students (55 minutes).

  • Haven’t you said nasty things about some atheists? Aren’t you a meany?
  • What do you make of the presuppositional approach to apologetics?
  • Can a person stop being a Christian because of the chances that happen to them as they age?
  • Why did God wait so long after humans appeared to reveal himself to people through Jesus?
  • Can a person be saved by faith without have any intellectual assent to truth?
  • How do you find time for regular things like marriage when you have to study and speak so much?
  • How would you respond to Zeitgeist and parallels to Christianity in Greek/Roman mythology?
  • Do Christians have to assume that the Bible is inerrant and inspired in order to evangelize?
  • If the universe has a beginning, then why doesn’t God have a beginning?
  • Can you name some philosophical resources on abstract objects, Platonism and nominalism?
  • How can you know that Christianity more right than other religions?
  • Should we respond to the problem of evil by saying that our moral notions are different from God’s?
  • Define the A and B theories of time. Explain how they relate to the kalam cosmological argument.
  • How can Christians claim that their view is true in the face of so many world religions?
  • What is the role of emotions in Christian belief and thought?
  • Can evolution be reconciled with Christian beliefs and the Bible?
  • When witnessing person-to-person, should you balance apologetics with personal testimony?
  • Is there a good analogy for the trinity that can help people to understand it? [Note: HE HAS ONE!]
  • How can Christians reconcile God’s omniscience, God’s sovereignty and human free will?

This is a nice introductory lecture that is sure to get Christians to become interested in apologetics. As you watch or listen to it, imagine what the world would be like if every Christian could answer the questions of skeptical college students and professors like Dr. Craig. What would non-Christians think about Christianity if every Christian had studied these issues like Dr. Craig? Why aren’t we making an effort to study these things so that we can answer these questions?

It is really fun to see him fielding the questions from the skeptical university students. My favorite question was from the physics student who sounds really foreign, (at 1:19:00), then you realize that he is a Christian. I do think that Dr. Craig went a little far in accommodating evolution, but I put that down to the venue, and not wanting to get into a peripheral issue. I’m also surprised that no one asked him why God allows humans to suffer and commit acts of evil.

If you are looking for a good basic book on apologetics, then I would choose “Is God Just a Human Invention?” by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. And you can even be part of a reading group that Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 just announced, that I will be participating in. We will all be reading the book together, chapter by chapter, and lots of people will be available to answer your questions.

Who is William Lane Craig?

About William Lane Craig:

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). From 1980-86 he taught Philosophy of Religion at Trinity… In 1987 they moved to Brussels, Belgium, where Dr. Craig pursued research at the University of Louvain until assuming his position at Talbot in 1994.

He has authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological ArgumentAssessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of JesusDivine Foreknowledge and Human FreedomTheism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time and Eternity, as well as over a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of PhilosophyNew Testament StudiesJournal for the Study of the New TestamentAmerican Philosophical QuarterlyPhilosophical StudiesPhilosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.

Craig’s CV is here.

Craig’s list of publications is here.

William Lane Craig is, without a doubt, the top living defender of Christianity. He has debated all of the most famous atheists, including Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc. as well as academic atheists like Quentin Smith, Peter Millican, etc. if you search this blog, you’ll find many debates posted here, sometimes even with snarky summaries.

Should Christians normally hear the voice of God in their daily lives?

There are two views on the topic of decision making and the will of God. The view you learn in the church is called “the traditional view”. I call this view the feminized/postmodern view. The more practical view is called “the wisdom view”. I call this view the battlefield/military view. I am a proponent of the wisdom view.

Let’s learn about the two different views:

[The traditional view is] that God has a plan for our lives and that we receive guidance through methods such as “open and closed doors”, “feeling led” and “the still, small, voice”. Once the view has been well explained, through the foil of a fictional seminar, the book continues to critique this view, explaining how it is based on a poor use and understanding of scriptures, and how some of the reasons given in support of the view do not apply.

[The wisdom view] holds that God does not have an “individual will” for our lives, but rather that all of God’s will can be summed up within two categories, God’s sovereign will and God’s moral will. Basically God’s sovereign will is all the things that god decrees will happen. It is hidden (mostly) from us, and does not play an active part in our decision, although some of it is revealed in the bible. God’s moral will is the part that we must concern ourselves with in making decisions. It is fully revealed in the bible and our decisions must be made within it. We may use wisdom in applying god’s moral will to our lives, or we may be in an area not covered by god’s moral will. We must finally submit in advance to God’s sovereign will, being prepared for him to sovereignty intervene and redirect us through whatever means he wills (see James).

Here’s a bit more from someone else:

Regarding the view that God has a personal will for us individually that we have to discern and find, J.I. Packer says, “The first thing to say is that the idea of guidance is actually a novelty among orthodox evangelicals. It does not go back farther than the last century. Second, it has led people to so much foolish action on the one hand, and so much foolish inaction on the other, as well as puzzlement and heartbreak when the ‘hotline’ to God seems to go silent, that it has to be discredited. Third, it must be said that Scripture gives us no more warrant constantly to expect personal ‘hotline,’ ‘voice-from-the-control-tower’ guidance than to expect new authoritative revelations to come our way for the guidance of the whole church.” (Hot Tub Religion, page 118).

As to the point of the question, how do I make decisions, I attempt to make decisions in light of three factors: God’s moral will, wisdom, and my personal desires. If something is opposed to God’s moral will, then I should obviously flee from it. If it’s not opposed, then I consider the wisdom of the choices. For example, would it be wise for me to marry a woman who loves Jesus, though we have nothing else in common? Probably not. If the options pass the criteria of wisdom, then I’m free to choose how I wish. If I’m offered two jobs, and both are honoring to God, and both would be wise to take, then I’m free to choose the job I would like more. I don’t need to put out a fleece or await some other confirmation from God. If it’s moral and wise, then the only question as to whether or not it will honor Him is my attitude.

Some examples of this model used in the Bible (in theological circles referred to as the Wisdom Model) are in Paul’s planning of a mission to Rome in Romans 1:9-15, 15:22-24, the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-29), and Paul’s instructions for legal disputes (1 Cor 6:3-6).

The best book on this topic is Garry Friesen’s “Decision Making and the Will of God”. In it, you’ll find a full assessment about what the Bible teaches on this topic.

When I am trying to decide what will be effective, I look at Christian scholars, at their papers, books, and public debates. That’s effectiveness because it is addressed to a non-Christian audience in public with the force of reason and evidence. It is persuasion and it is addressed to rational minds. I want to change the minds of people who have a large influence on society on the whole. I don’t think that offering Christianity as life-enhancement or self-help is really “having an influence”. I think that offering Christianity as truth, with support, is “having an influence”.

So let me be clear about what I believe:

  • I don’t think that God normally talks to people directly
  • I don’t believe that life is an Easter egg hunt, filled with clues accessible only to emotion and intuition
  • I don’t believe that God expects people to discover a specific will for their lives using non-rational means
  • I think that people make up their own life plan that is consistent with the Bible
  • The goal of the life plan is to be effective, and there are no other considerations
  • I think that there are many good things a person can do, but that some are more effective than others
  • I think that with respect to the goal of serving God effectively, my happiness is expendable
  • I don’t think that the purpose of doing something for the Lord is to feel good about ourselves
  • I don’t think that people should choose ineffective things to do just because they like them
  • I don’t think that people should choose ineffective things to do just because they are good at them
  • I think people should do hard things that they don’t like – as long as it’s more effective
  • I don’t think that any course of action is as effective as any other – some plans accomplish more
  • I don’t think that life is totally unpredictable and irrational and subjective
  • I think that we can know what is or is not effective by studying and learning about the world
  • I think life is like a battlefield that must be surveyed, understood and acted upon deliberately

I think that every person is the commanding officer of his or her own life, and each person must study everything they can, make a plan that is consistent with the Bible’s moral prescriptions, execute the plan and achieve whatever they can achieve for the Lord. And the goal is not comfort or happy feelings, but real achievements. Life is more like a war than a vacation resort or a buffet or a shopping center. God’s will for us is not have happy feelings, but that we freely choose to sacrifice ourselves out of obedience and service to him. In my case, that means studying hard things, making money, saving money, and giving money away to good scholars, sponsoring good events and being persuasive to non-Christians. I cried when I had to learn calculus, because it was so hard. But who cares?

I think that it is very important to realize that God is not impressed by our not being smart and not being effective. If we have the ability to be smart, then we should be smart, whether it makes us happy or not. If we have the ability to make money, then we should make money, whether it makes us happy or not. If we have the ability have a great influence, then we should have a great influence, whether it makes us happy or not. There will be plenty of time for happiness after we’re dead. With respect to God’s purposes in the world, my happiness is expendable. The thought about what “I want” doesn’t enter into my mind.

Whenever someone questions my plans by saying that I am asserting my will over God’s will, the first question I want to ask that person is this: “how do you know what God’s will is?” and “what is your basis for thinking that my plan will not be effective?”. I want to know if I have misunderstood something about the way the world is, or miscalculated in some way. I want someone to look at my calculations and show where they are going to produce a less optimal result for the Lord. That’s the only concern I have – effectiveness.

This article by Greg Koukl may be helpful.

And I also found this summary of the Friesen book useful:

In nine parts.

Do all the decisions a Christian makes have to be divinely directed?

There are two views on the topic of decision making and the will of God. The view you learn in the church is called “the traditional view”. I call this view the feminized/postmodern view. The more practical view is called “the wisdom view”. I call this view the battlefield/military view. I am a proponent of the wisdom view.

Let’s learn about the two different views:

[The traditional view is] that God has a plan for our lives and that we receive guidance through methods such as “open and closed doors”, “feeling led” and “the still, small, voice”. Once the view has been well explained, through the foil of a fictional seminar, the book continues to critique this view, explaining how it is based on a poor use and understanding of scriptures, and how some of the reasons given in support of the view do not apply.

[The wisdom view] holds that God does not have an “individual will” for our lives, but rather that all of God’s will can be summed up within two categories, God’s sovereign will and God’s moral will. Basically God’s sovereign will is all the things that god decrees will happen. It is hidden (mostly) from us, and does not play an active part in our decision, although some of it is revealed in the bible. God’s moral will is the part that we must concern ourselves with in making decisions. It is fully revealed in the bible and our decisions must be made within it. We may use wisdom in applying god’s moral will to our lives, or we may be in an area not covered by god’s moral will. We must finally submit in advance to God’s sovereign will, being prepared for him to sovereignty intervene and redirect us through whatever means he wills (see James).

Here’s a bit more from someone else:

Regarding the view that God has a personal will for us individually that we have to discern and find, J.I. Packer says, “The first thing to say is that the idea of guidance is actually a novelty among orthodox evangelicals. It does not go back farther than the last century. Second, it has led people to so much foolish action on the one hand, and so much foolish inaction on the other, as well as puzzlement and heartbreak when the ‘hotline’ to God seems to go silent, that it has to be discredited. Third, it must be said that Scripture gives us no more warrant constantly to expect personal ‘hotline,’ ‘voice-from-the-control-tower’ guidance than to expect new authoritative revelations to come our way for the guidance of the whole church.” (Hot Tub Religion, page 118).

As to the point of the question, how do I make decisions, I attempt to make decisions in light of three factors: God’s moral will, wisdom, and my personal desires. If something is opposed to God’s moral will, then I should obviously flee from it. If it’s not opposed, then I consider the wisdom of the choices. For example, would it be wise for me to marry a woman who loves Jesus, though we have nothing else in common? Probably not. If the options pass the criteria of wisdom, then I’m free to choose how I wish. If I’m offered two jobs, and both are honoring to God, and both would be wise to take, then I’m free to choose the job I would like more. I don’t need to put out a fleece or await some other confirmation from God. If it’s moral and wise, then the only question as to whether or not it will honor Him is my attitude.

Some examples of this model used in the Bible (in theological circles referred to as the Wisdom Model) are in Paul’s planning of a mission to Rome in Romans 1:9-15, 15:22-24, the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-29), and Paul’s instructions for legal disputes (1 Cor 6:3-6).

The best book on this topic is Garry Friesen’s “Decision Making and the Will of God”. In it, you’ll find a full assessment about what the Bible teaches on this topic.

When I am trying to decide what will be effective, I look at Christian scholars, at their papers, books, and public debates. That’s effectiveness because it is addressed to a non-Christian audience in public with the force of reason and evidence. It is persuasion and it is addressed to rational minds. I want to change the minds of people who have a large influence on society on the whole. I don’t think that offering Christianity as life-enhancement or self-help is really “having an influence”. I think that offering Christianity as truth, with support, is “having an influence”.

So let me be clear about what I believe:

  • I don’t think that God normally talks to people directly
  • I don’t believe that life is an Easter egg hunt, filled with clues accessible only to emotion and intuition
  • I don’t believe that God expects people to discover a specific will for their lives using non-rational means
  • I think that people make up their own life plan that is consistent with the Bible
  • The goal of the life plan is to be effective, and there are no other considerations
  • I think that there are many good things a person can do, but that some are more effective than others
  • I think that with respect to the goal of serving God effectively, my happiness is expendable
  • I don’t think that the purpose of doing something for the Lord is to feel good about ourselves
  • I don’t think that people should choose ineffective things to do just because they like them
  • I don’t think that people should choose ineffective things to do just because they are good at them
  • I think people should do hard things that they don’t like – as long as it’s more effective
  • I don’t think that any course of action is as effective as any other – some plans accomplish more
  • I don’t think that life is totally unpredictable and irrational and subjective
  • I think that we can know what is or is not effective by studying and learning about the world
  • I think life is like a battlefield that must be surveyed, understood and acted upon deliberately

I think that every person is the commanding officer of his or her own life, and each person must study everything they can, make a plan that is consistent with the Bible’s moral prescriptions, execute the plan and achieve whatever they can achieve for the Lord. And the goal is not comfort or happy feelings, but real achievements. Life is more like a war than a vacation resort or a buffet or a shopping center. God’s will for us is not have happy feelings, but that we freely choose to sacrifice ourselves out of obedience and service to him. In my case, that means studying hard things, making money, saving money, and giving money away to good scholars, sponsoring good events and being persuasive to non-Christians. I cried when I had to learn calculus, because it was so hard. But who cares?

I think that it is very important to realize that God is not impressed by our not being smart and not being effective. If we have the ability to be smart, then we should be smart, whether it makes us happy or not. If we have the ability to make money, then we should make money, whether it makes us happy or not. If we have the ability have a great influence, then we should have a great influence, whether it makes us happy or not. There will be plenty of time for happiness after we’re dead. With respect to God’s purposes in the world, my happiness is expendable. The thought about what “I want” doesn’t enter into my mind.

Whenever someone questions my plans by saying that I am asserting my will over God’s will, the first question I want to ask that person is this: “how do you know what God’s will is?” and “what is your basis for thinking that my plan will not be effective?”. I want to know if I have misunderstood something about the way the world is, or miscalculated in some way. I want someone to look at my calculations and show where they are going to produce a less optimal result for the Lord. That’s the only concern I have – effectiveness.

This article by Greg Koukl may be helpful.

And I also found this summary of the Friesen book useful:

In nine parts.

Doug Groothuis explains the correspondence theory of truth

Check out this short paper on truth and postmodernism by Christian philosopher Douglas Groothuis.

Excerpt:

The correspondence view of truth, held by the vast majority of philosophers and theologians throughout history, holds that any declarative statement is true if and only if it corresponds to or agrees with factual reality, with the way things are. The statement, “The desk in my study is brown,” is true only if there is, in fact, a brown desk in my study. If indeed there is a brown desk in my study, then the statement, “there is no brown desk in my study,” is false because it fails to correspond to any objective state of affairs.

The titanic statement, “Jesus is Lord of the universe,” is either true or false. It is not both true and false; it is not neither true nor false. This statement either honors reality or it does not; it mirrors the facts or it does not. The Christian claims that this statement is true apart from anyone’s opinion (see Romans 3:4). In other words, it has a mind-independent reality. Minds may recognize this truth, but minds do not create this truth. This is because truth is a quality of some statements and not of others. It is not a matter of subjective feeling, majority vote or cultural fashion. The statement, “The world is spherical,” was true even when the vast majority of earthlings took their habitat to be flat.

The correspondence view of truth entails that declarative statements are subject to various kinds of verification and falsification. This concerns the area of epistemology, or the study of how we acquire and defend knowledge claims. [2] A statement can be proven false if it can be shown to disagree with objective reality. The photographs from outer space depicting the earth as a blue orb (along with prior evidence) falsified flat-earth claims. Certainly, not all falsification is as straightforward as this; but if statements are true or false by virtue of their relationship to what they attempt to describe, this makes possible the marshaling of evidence for their veracity or falsity. [3]

Therefore, Christians — who historically have affirmed the correspondence view of truth — hold that there are good historical reasons to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead in space-time history, thus vindicating His divine authority (see Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11). [4] The Apostle Paul adamantly affirms this view: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15). Without the correspondence view of truth, these resounding affirmations ring hollow. Christianity cannot live and thrive without it.

This is a great article from a very smart guy who has written extensively about truth and postmodernism. Doug also has a blog, in case you want to pay him a visit.

I like playing Sorcery Quest more than I like singing in church

I promised a friend of mine that I would go to church today, so I picked a 7 PM evening service and in the meantime, I’ve been playing an online game called Sorcery Quest (but they only give you 20 minutes a day to play! Boo!) and listening to those apologetics lectures that I ordered. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I don’t want to church but would rather stay home and play Sorcery Quest and listen to apologetics lectures instead.

One of those 3 activities is not like the others.

Which one doesn’t belong?

  • Playing Sorcery Quest
  • Listening to apologetics lectures
  • Singing in church

I’ll tell you which one doesn’t belong: singing in church. Because that’s for girls.

That’s right, I said it. Singing is for girls. But Sorcery Quest and apologetics is for boys.

Sorcery Quest

Let’s take a look at the blurb on the Sorcery Quest web site and see what Sorcery Quest is about.

Here’s the web site blurb:

Create a group of adventurers and embark on a fantastic journey where you will fight evil monsters and gain experience, find treasures, gold and fame, create your own guild, and, if you dare, enter the arena and challenge other players!

Here is a promotional video:

Here is the text from the trailer:

  • Ten locations to visit
  • Twenty character classes to choose from
  • Over 60 unique monsters
  • Collect more than 100 items
  • (Fight!) Classic gameplay
  • Turn-based combat
  • Explore a vast world filled with treasures
  • Play today for free

This is what boys like. Adventure!

Christian apologetics

Now I’ll write up a similar blurb for Christian apologetics.

  • Hundreds of universities, workplaces and restaurants to visit
  • Dozens of arguments to choose from across various academic disciplines
  • Hundreds of unique monsters, including university professors, feminists, fascists, Hollywood celebrities, left-wing journalists and village atheists
  • Collect thousands of magical books, debates, and lectures
  • Classic gameplay – gain experience, build your skills and assemble a team of brave adventurers to wage war on evil behind enemy lines
  • Turn-based combat
  • Explore a vast universe filled with powerful, effective scientific and historical evidence
  • Play today for free

I could go on and on about how exciting defending the faith is! Apologetics is something that boys like as much as they like Sorcery Quest or reading the Lord of the Rings. Adventure! In fact, Lee Strobel’s new book is all about public, personal apologetics being adventurous!

The feminized church

Now here’s a similar blurb for the feminized church, which is nothing like either Sorcery Quest, or Christian apologetics. (Note: this is exaggerated for effect)

  • Never learn any of the excellent reasons why the Bible is reliable or trustworthy, or even how to test its claims
  • Believe things without anyone explaining why you should believe them
  • Avoid discussing the evil happening in the world, and don’t make plans to do anything about it
  • Avoid discussing anti-Christian, anti-liberty policies being enacted by Obama
  • Help people to feel comfortable with their lack of engagement by talking about the weather, television shows and movies
  • Avoid hurting people’s feelings by expressing your views, or worse, by disagreeing with them
  • Sit next to screaming babies who need their diapers changed
  • Sing songs about your emotions with a crowd of strangers who will never talk to you about anything interesting
  • Have your aggressive male nature and apologetics knowledge suppressed by stuffy, insecure church pastors
  • After the sermon, hear about everyone else’s home renovations, children’s graduations and vacation plans

And so on… (add yours in the comments). This is just not going to attractive for boys. We want danger! Adventure! Collecting things! Exploring! Fighting! Winning! Scoring points! But all of that is forbidden in the feminized church.

So, this whole feminized church thing no good for boys.

Fortunately, the church I have to go to is far away so it will be a long drive – which is dangerous. I drive a triple-black convertible roadster – which is dangerous. And the friend who asked me to go to church is a wood-elf Princess – so that’s a quest. (She lines in a rural area, and so I can plausibly imagine that she is an elf). And she already has a reward for me, (a book of some sort, autographed), – that’s a treasure. She may also give me some of the magical elven food that she makes.

So, that’s something, at least. With a little imagination, church could be fun for me.

Maybe something exciting will happen to me on the way to church? A dragon could attack me and I could defeat him and steal his treasure. Maybe a magical sphinx will appear and refuse to let me into the church unless I answer 3 riddles? Why can’t church be more adventurous like that? Why can’t I ever disagree with people in church? Why can’t the whole church ever watch a debate? Why can’t I learn something that I can actually use to fight and win over non-Christians? Why can’t we link what the pastor says with the real world?

My visit to church

I’m back! I got there a half-hour early. The minister was a Reformed Baptist (I’m not a Calvinist, though) and he preached on the meaning of the ordinance of eating bread and wine, i.e. – Communion. And it was great because he explained what an ordinance was, and what a sacrament was, and he occasionally compared the Protestant beliefs with the Catholic beliefs about Communion. But he didn’t try to talk about any evidence for who was right, he just said that different people have different opinions – like tastes in food I suppose.

All the songs were about what God has done, nothing about how we feel about him. So that was good. I even sang “Crown him with many crowns” very quietly. (I sat at the back where no one would notice me). Nobody raised their hands during worship. So that was good. Raising your hands and stuff is just weird, because it just is! Weird! So the worship was right on target.

I took tons of notes. He used 1 Corinthians 10 and 11. Everybody knows that 1 Corinthians is one of Paul’s angry letters, like Galatians. Paul seems to take theology and apologetics so seriously, much more seriously than Christians in church today.

It was a communion service. He told us what we should be thinking about when we take communion (the bread and wine) and what we should not think about. He explained why this was a very serious thing to participate in. This part was really awesome! Because it was judgmental.

You guys can e-mail me if you want to know who the pastor was. You’ll recognize his name for certain if I tell you.

I went into the church book store, and they had an apologetics section with old-earth books, intelligent design books, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland and Lee Strobel. AND THEY HAD DEBATES ON DVD WITH RICHARD DAWKINS AND CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS!!!!!! I took pictures of them with my cell phone! But the theology section was all filled with Calvinism, of course, but I can’t help that. The book store was huge.

My Dad is also very happy that I went to church. I usually only go about once a quarter these days. Normally I go to a non-Reformed Baptist church.

What I thought of going to church

Now nothing I learned today was useful for engaging non-Christians in public, but I learned lots of other new things. It’s important to compare different beliefs and say who is right and who is wrong, and why. He didn’t explain any of the why – no evidence was discussed for anything he said. But arguments and evidence is what makes Christianity interesting!

I do think that churches need to have the occasional service taught by a scholar on an apologetics topic, once a quarter. I insist that it be to the entire church. If only someone could come in and explain to them about the kalam argument, the fine-tuning, the origin of life, the fossil record, irreducible complexity, the moral argument, consciousness, the problem of suffering, the hiddenness of God, the fate of the unevangelized, postmodernism, and middle knowledge.

And they need to cover the minimal facts case for the resurrection once a quarter in the normal service. And they’ll need to talk about abortion, marriage, persecution of Christians abroad, and other issues like that. If you don’t talk about the evidence pro and con, because you are afraid of upsetting the people who are there to have emotional experiences, then you run the risk that people will begin to believe that religion is divorced from truth. That’s what I mean when I say “the feminized church”. When you don’t link it to the evidence in the real world, people think that it’s not real.

How I would fix the church

I am sponsoring a couple of events next year where Greg Koukl will be speaking and he will be allowed to address the entire congregation in two Sunday services. Also, I am sponsoring another event where he will debate in a church. That’s all I wanted! As long as all the people who attend the church get the idea that Christianity is about the real world, and that it’s OK to ask questions, then I am happy. And I have a plan I am executing to help churches be more focused on truth and apologetics.

Right now, we have a shortage of young people, especially men, attending church. My recommendation is that pastors immediately begin involving apologetics material in their main Sunday sermons. And I do mean EVIDENTIAL apologetics, not pre-suppositionalism. Young people who see evidence from the world being discussed in the main church service will get the message that the claims of Christianity are objective, and testable. Right now, the reason they are dropping out is that they are not seeing that Christianity is objectively true.

Personal preferences and feelings cannot be debated. But truth claims can be debated, and that’s adventurous and dangerous.

Further study