How I became a Christian

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

Let’s start with this article about lambs in Scotland, written by Sheila Walsh in the The Stream.

She writes:

I am very fond of sheep. I grew up on the west coast of Scotland with sheep all around me, field after field of white wool and incessant crying when things seemed a little off.

[…]Of all the lessons I have learned from these defenseless, gentle animals, the most profound is the most painful. Every now and then, a ewe will give birth to a lamb and immediately reject it. Sometimes the lamb is rejected because they are one of twins and the mother doesn’t have enough milk or she is old and frankly quite tired of the whole business. They call those lambs, bummer lambs.

Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die. So the shepherd will take that little lost one into his home and hand feed it from a bottle and keep it warm by the fire. He will wrap it up warm and hold it close enough to hear a heartbeat. When the lamb is strong the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock.

“Off you go now, you can do this, I’m right here.”

The most beautiful sight to see is when the shepherd approaches his flock in the morning and calls them out, “Sheep, sheep, sheep!”

The first to run to him are the bummer lambs because they know his voice. It’s not that they are more loved — it’s just that they believe it.

I am so grateful that Christ calls himself the Good Shepherd.

“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:3-4 NLT)

My older brother and I grew up with a mother who was very much focused on her career and earning and saving money for her retirement. We were both stuck in daycare very early after being born, so that she could go back to work right away. My older brother has shown the ill effects of our parents (especially our mother) not having any plan for us, especially morally and spiritually. He dropped out of college after failing his first year, never had a career. Although he has normal intelligence and mental health, he never could stick in any real job.

Although there were early warning signs when his grades started to drop in Grade 5, my parents never took responsibility to make a plan to solve it. Oh, they would yell and scream at him at report card time, but just for a day or two, and after that, nothing constructive. My brother decided that he could just ride out the flak my parents gave him on report card night, and keep going with his plan of having fun and being popular. My parents just forgot about it until the next report card day, because they did not want to be distracted from their careers, hobbies and retirement planning.

I had the exact same upbringing as my older brother. He actually did pretty well until Grade 5 just like me, but then our paths diverged. From Grade 5 on, his grades deterioriated. He got tired of having to study and he was more interested in the opinions of his peers and conforming to pop culture. In my case, from Grade 5 on, my grades were always high-90s. I remember taking the same classes as he did, in the same high school, with the same teachers. He got a 44 in data processing, I got a 96 with the same teacher and won the award for the entire grade. Every class I went to, the teachers would speak fondly of my older brother – he was a nice guy, very popular with his peers, good at sports, but not a very good student. How was it that I was winning awards when he had scored so poorly. Was I really his brother? How could we be so different?

My journey towards a relationship with God started when I was very young. My mother is a Muslim-raised agnostic. My father is a Catholic-raised agnostic. Half of my father’s family is mostly Hindu, and some Catholic. My mother’s family is mostly Muslim and some atheist. Growing up, I never attended church or performed any other spiritual activity with my parents, except for my father saying grace at holiday dinners. My parent’s god was money, because we were very, very poor first-generation immigrants.

I always believed in a Creator of the universe. I remember the first time I stood up to defend God’s reputation in public. It was in second grade, when Mrs. Hutchinson, who was one of the teachers who smoked, explained the big bang theory by using the example of baking a cake. I raised my hand, heart thumping, palms sweating, and asked her if it were not the case that God made the big bang, since cakes do not bake themselves. She replied that for those who believe in God, God is the cause of the big bang, and for those who don’t believe in God… she stopped and threw up her hands and said “they just believe that the cake baked itself”. That made no sense to me, so I stuck with my belief in a Creator.

It was in Grade 5 where the paths of my brother and I diverged. H was a few years ahead of me. He got a Gideon’s New Testament and he read it and he didn’t put it into practice. When I got to Grade 5, I got a Gideon’s New Testament and I read it twice and I did put it into practice. That turned out to be the difference between us.  From reading the New Testament, I had the awareness of the moral law (i.e.- wisdom) that allowed me to judge my parents and judge my peers and judge my teachers and stand alone. When you cannot rely on anyone to lead you, judging others is critical. That is what allows you to maintain appropriate boundaries and minimize the influence of friends and family who do not have any plan to grow you. Awareness of the moral law is what allows you to stop trying to please people who do not want what is best for you. On the other hand, God is always willing to give you wisdom, and you can find out all about him because he has left plenty of evidence concerning his existence and character for you to find. It is in knowing God as he really is that you can find your sense of value, purpose and meaning.

I did not understand Christian theology much until my sophomore year of high school, because I did not go to church for 5 years following my conversion.  My discovery of C.S. Lewis in high school and William Lane Craig in my undergraduate years helped me to understand more about Christian theology. The web site Leadership University introduced me to Craig and Walter Bradley. Once I read Craig’s arguments in his debates with Michael Tooley and Corey Washington, I was convinced. I remember printing them out in the computer lab and reading them. It was at this time that I dumped young-earth creationism due to the evidence for the big bang, but I still doubt macro-evolution today. I am a big proponent of intelligent design.

For me, Christianity was a simple matter of being willing to go along with what was true. I did not form my worldview based on what was fun or by conforming to peer expectations. The essential characteristic of my faith, in contrast to my older brother’s lack of faith, was that I did not mind being different to others. Some people embrace Christianity hoping that God will give them goodies, but my obedience to Christ has contingent on things going my way, on being liked, or anything like that. The only thing that mattered was being factually correct. And God helped me to find out what was true by motivating me to study, and leading me to Him with good evidence, and good mentors. I would say that he was there providing me with information and experiences that changed my mind naturally.

How has this affected me? Well, this is the second thing I wanted to say about the bummer lamb analogy. Since I was a victim of this hands-off, me-first style of parenting, it’s caused me to be extra sensitive about being a good spiritual leader to others in the same predicament.The people I mentor can see it in the way that I treat them the exact opposite of the way that my older brother and I were treated. I care what people read. I care what courses they choose. I care what they eat. I care how they feel. I care about their finances. I care about their plans to serve God. I care about their romantic relationships. I care whether they get recognition for doing good. I care whether their life is going in the right direction. One person I mentored who once considered taking her own life wrote to me when she graduated from a STEM program, and she said this: “I wish you could have been here at my graduation. My parents only paid for this degree. You were the one who got me through it”. We have never met in person, but she is going to continue to make a huge difference for Christ and His Kingdom going forward.

I think when you have been a bummer lamb, you are extra careful to make decisions that will enable you to be a good shepherd to other lambs. Being a good shepherd does not mean being pious, spiritual, mystical, etc. Being a good shepherd does not mean making the lambs feel good about making bad decisions. Being a good shepherd means understanding what God has done to lead you, and then reflecting that love back to others in practical, self-sacrificial actions that solve actual real-world problems for other people who want to know and serve God. If you are about to jump off a cliff, the last thing you need is someone with no wisdom or experience telling you that God is OK with you doing whatever feels good to you. What you need is someone practical and competent to give you good advice, however much that advice may make you feel bad, or block your pursuit of fun.

One of my friends proof-read the draft of this post told me that it made her think of 2 Cor 1:3-5:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Nothing else I do in life matters to me as much as taking care of the people I mentor, especially the ones who are lost and lacking guidance and care. I have good health, good education, good career, and great finances. But by far the most important thing I do is following the example of the Shepherd by caring for other lambs.

You can read more about how I formed my worldview here.

71 thoughts on “How I became a Christian”

  1. Nice to get a deeper insight to your belief.

    Regarding the chaste statement—are you implying that all Christians need to be chaste in order to be a good Christian? I don’t understand…

  2. Sorry, I’m very ignorant about the concept.

    Is it just no sex outside of marriage, or no marriage altogether?

  3. Ironically from your description of your life you sound a lot like me, so I’m not sure what your point is. Perhaps you could clarify?

  4. Wintery Knight,
    I have just recently discovered your blog and enjoy it very much. I very much sympathize with your thoughts on the feminization of many an evangelical Church which ultimately led me to pursue something deeper and whole. I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian who has come to appreciate the idea of the spiritual athlete that is often emphasized in the Orthodox Church. I was wondering if you have ever been to or considered the Orthodox Church? Thanks for your time. God bless you.- Joseph

      1. I think it is incorrect to say “feminization” of the church, rather it is the influence of Marxism and other leftist political influence which promotes the war between the sexes, races and classes. Marxists and Satan both benefit from the “war” between the sexes.

      2. i’ll be the third.
        husband is a priest and we are both converts before we met.
        i’m a hillbilly raised in the calvinist atmosphere of the Bible belt.
        had read the Bible several times through and a lot more as was usual in those days.
        when i found Orthodoxy i was amazed that here is the True Church of the New Testament. had looked at many denominations and found them all wanting, or stuck on some irrelevant detail [how long is your skirt, should a man have a beard].
        read timothy ware’s book [now bishop kallistos ware] ‘the Orthodox Church’ for a foundation.
        p.s.- don’t expect the ethnic churches to welcome you with open arms. as one priest put it, ‘right religion, wrong people.’.
        God will guide you. ignorance is a widespread among those claiming Orthodoxy as is common among all human beings.

  5. I don’t consider Frank Shaeffer a good representative of Eastern Orthodoxy. I am very disappointed with his books concerning his parents(I cut my teeth on Francis Shaeffer) and his critiques of Protestantism are just plain mean. I have found Orthodoxy to be a good balance of the mind in the heart. While I am not sure EO will help you win more arguments but it will give you a more rounded worldview.


  6. Wintry Knight,
    If you ever want to get a taste of what’s going on in the area of philosophy from an EO perspective then I recommend a site by a philosopher at the U. of Kentucky, Dr. David Bradshaw. God bless.

  7. I have a question. I don’t know, may be it’s not my place to ask you this, but why are you a Protestant? I mean, you chose to be a Christian alright, but why exactly did you choose to be a Protestant Christian? I simply want to know what your arguments are in support of Protestantism. And obviously you have a choice to answer or not.

    1. I hope none of Catholic readers will be too mean to me. Basically, Protestants derive their doctrines solely from the Bible “Sola Scriptura” and Catholics think the church has authority to interpret the Bible, and that there are some doctrines that emerged after the Bible which are authoritative for Christians.

      There are two main reasons:

      First, there is the mechanism of how we are saved:
      In Protestantism, God initiates the process of saving man (“justification”) because man is too sinful to choose God unaided. I believe that man can choose to respond to God’s initiative (“grace”) or not, so that ultimately, man is responsible for what happens to him. However, salvation is a gift of God. No individual works that man can do can lose his salvation. I am different from many Protestants because I believe salvation can be lost, but only by the failure to believe.

      When you see a Protestant doing good works, he is engaged in a process called “sanctification”. This process is concerned with how a person imitates Christ in order to be good. Failure to perform good works will not lose you your salvation, so long as you still believe. In Protestantism, the church’s influence is minimal. The church plays no role your salvation.

      In Catholicism, certain works are necessary in order to keep your salvation. For example, you must attend mass regularly.

      Second, there is the problem of certain doctrines which I don’t think are in the Bible or in church history:

      + Purgatory and indulgences
      + the Papacy
      + immaculate conception of Mary
      + perpetual virginity of Mary
      + Mary’s bodily assumption into Heaven
      + Mary as co-redemptrix with Christ
      + Universalism

      My advice for you is to listen to some debates on these topics with Calvinist Protestant James White and Catholics like Mitchell Pacwa and Gerry Matatics, etc., and to see how well they do. I’ve actually considered becoming a Catholic, and as part of that search, I listened to these debates. The end result was that I did not become a Catholic. I am not a Calvinist Protestant, either. I am a Wesleyan Protestant.

      I just looked and I am having trouble finding them online, although they used to be in 2002-2003 when I was looking.

      You can buy there here, though. I recommend only the ones with Mitchell Pacwa, as he is less angry than Matatics.

      By the way, I don’t want to start a debate in this post, so e-mail we if you want to talk about it further.

      1. if someone stops believing (and loses their salvation, according to what you believe), could they get saved again, if they start to believe again at a later time? Thanks, great blog.

          1. Not that I believe that one can lose his salvation, still seeking an answer for that, I would say that an examination of Hebrews 6 would nullify anyone being permitted to regain salvation as it were.

      2. I must be missing something, the Catholic Church, from what I’ve learned about them, do not teach universalism.

        As for the other things, there are two things I’ve been researching (because I have never been a member) lately that seem to need clarification.

        Catholicism does not teach that salvation is by works and faith. To them, works and faith are the outcomes of accepting God’s grace. As such, if one has grace, one cannot have just faith, or just works.
        Also, this seems to be a common misconception: Purgatory, supposedly, is not some weird limbo between Heaven and Hell (that’s what Earth is, so to speak); Purgatory is more like Heaven’s porch or front door.

        I do not claim to be an expert, but I hope I have not made error on these points.

        One final observation: if I really understand what I am looking at, it seems to me that the split between the Catholic and Protestant branches ultimately derives from two things: the foremost being the church’s authority to interpret the Holy Writing, the second being the distinction between venial and mortal sins.

      3. I think that by believing in Christ, we are all saved, and we can come back to him if ever we are lost, but our acts should reflect that if we are true Christians and not just merely formalists.

  8. Thanks for writing this about yourself. I had a different path to Christianity, but I am always fascinated by the conversion stories of others.

    By the way, you are one prolific writer! Some of my church buddies were talking about you the other night at my house, and we were all wondering how many hours a day you spend on your blog!! You put the rest of us to shame…

    1. Well, (sigh). Commenter ECM, who is a deist, helps me out a ton with stories, and so does my best friend Andrew, who has a super marriage to his wonderful wife Jen. (She helps him to have time to help me!)

      I am now in my early thirties, and this is the first time when I ever once felt accepted by Christians. I could tell you horror story after horror story about churches and campus groups opposing my efforts to show Bill Craig debates or to organize lectures, etc.. There was strong opposition to apologetics as well as conservative politics. I have had much greater success dealing with atheists, who are more open to apologetics.

      This is the first time where I felt really free to say what I think about interesting things, and I am delighted that so many Christians enjoy reading it. (My atheists friends always enjoyed listening to me and watching debates, everywhere that I worked so far).

  9. Wintery,
    I liked your words, but you should consider Exodus 20:11 again (six day creation). The same “evidence” that materialists use for the big bang is prety much in the same line of “evidence” they use for “macro-evolution”.
    It’s important not to give an inch to the materilists when it comes to our origins, because if we do, we are essencially saying that God was Unable to tell us how the universe began.

    Did God know that there theory of evolution would come? Yes, He did. Did He know that people would use the big bang as a way to remove God from the picture? Yes. (I know that the original proposer of the big bang cosmology was a belgium religious man, but it the model itself as non-Biblical assumptions. The Bible says that the Earth came before the sun, but the big bang model reverses it. There are other contradictions, but that is one of them.)

    BUt good job!

    1. I think that you are right to be concerned with giving atheists an inch. They’ll take the whole nine yards with them (Postmodernists seem to be the exception, as they let us keep the nine-yards, and produce their own)!

      However, I think that a sound Biblical interpretation allows for Big Bang cosmology, and it seems conceivable that a plausible interpretation could be given which allows evolution (with a few caveats, but never mind that right now).

      I will start by presenting a proof that accepting Young Earth Creationism should not be dogmatic, even though there is nothing in it that affects salvation.

      1) The best interpretation of the Bible does not give atheists an advantage, in any branch of knowledge.
      2) The Young Earth Creationist Interpretation gives atheists an advantage in at least one branch of knowledge.
      3) Therefore, the Young Earth Creationist Interpretation is not the best interpretation of the Bible.

      The flaw with the argument, I think, is that it could be used to argue against Progressive Creationism (and force us to use an allegorical interpretation), because `evolution` is largely considered as a branch of knowledge. So the question of what constitutes a branch of knowledge needs to be answered as well. A field of inquiry is a branch of knowledge if and only if definite answers about reality can be derived from this field. So defined, philosophy is not a branch of knowledge, it is the foundation of knowledge. “Evolution,” as you use the word, is now a philosophy, not a science, not an art, not history.

      The contradictions between big bang cosmology and your interpretation are certainly striking, but the Progressive Creationist Interpretation resolves them –at least the major ones. A small number of plausible postulates underlie our exegetical work. Firstly, the Hebrew word “YOM” (pronounced “yome”), does not always mean a literal, twenty-four hour day. (There are numerous exceptions to the `rules` Answers In Genesis devised in order to exclude competing models.) “YOM” can refer to a large time-span. Second, after Genesis i.2, the reference frame of the narrative shifts from outer space to the surface of the Earth, and stays there. (“Now the Earth was formless and void, and the Spirit of God was brooding over the surface of THE DEEP.”) Third, the phrase, “And then there was Morning, and then there was Evening,” is an expression, denoting completion of a task by God (or we could call it “The End of an Era”…). Finally, the reference to the animals is in reference to mammals and birds (“Soulish Creatures” are what the Hebrew word “NEPHESH” refers to; to be “soulish” is to possess mind, will, and emotion). I don’t want to put something too lengthy up, and I believe that it will be easy to use these assumptions on one’s own, so that I don’t need to elaborate.

      Finally, I want to bring some interesting data-points to the table, as the insight provided ought to be helpful for us:
      1) In Jewish tradition, it is believed that “before” God created the universe, He inhabited eternity, filling it uniformly. Then, God “moved out of the way,” creating a “hollow” at the center, and He put a small portion of His essence into it. This essence was not matter, but it had the capacity to transform into matter. This essence became the universe as we know it today.
      2) In the Bible, we see passages that speak of astronomy and cosmology, and these passages are consistent with the big bang theory. The Bible tells us that the universe began to exist, that the universe is expanding (ref. Isaiah 44.24), and that the universe will “wear out” (Psalms 102.25-27).
      3) Even if we accept the “Appearance of Age” argument against the data that is given in favor of an ancient universe, the “Appearance of History” argument makes God a liar. Take Adam, although he had the appearance of age, if you were there to examine him, I predict that you would not have found any scars, or other signs that Adam had been there for longer than he had been. He looked old, but examination would reveal that he was not.

  10. You talk about getting a C and being satisfied because you were not cheating. Was this before or after your conversion?
    I believe that people are good or bad, their choice. I know of some “christians” who I don’t want near me and some non-christians who I am proud to have as my friends.
    I think that to imply that only Christians have morals is a step too far.
    BTW. I consider myself to be a (non-judgemental) Christian.
    PS. Living like a monk is not required of us.

    1. Wintery is not implying that non-Christians are devoid of morals, but that only people who believe in God have OBJECTIVE morals. It’s a key distinction, but even outspoken-atheists like Christopher Hitchens often fail to distinguish between the two.

    2. “I believe that people are good or bad, their choice.”

      There’s a problem with that very widely held belief. Why would a person, who has ostensibly chosen to do good, ever do something bad?

      1. Because sin “dwells within us”. Us fallen humans are intrinsically sinful. We are selfish and yearn immediate gratification. Through faith in Christ we are deemed blameless and forgiven.

  11. Holy Righteousness, dude! I feel I need to humbly offer a little defense for us atheists… We (those that feel there is no evidence for God), or at least I, do not live for the pusuit of happiness. I live for my children, my family, my friends – in short, my relationships and fellowship with others. In the end, that’s all we have, and even though the materialist worldview condemns even these as meaningless in a Godless universe, they are real and tangible in the present, and they give purpose, fleeting and cosmically inconsequential as that may be. As a former (nominal) Christian, I know where you are coming from, but isolating yourself from your community and eschewing personal relationships in the pursuit of knowing God is an unfortunate way to go through life.

    1. Right, those reasons are all subjective. You do what you do because you like it, there is no real morality there. Other people who choose to abort their children, have children out of wedlock, or cheat on their wives for happiness have the same justification as you: I did it because I preferred to do it, and I don’t care about the consequences to others.

      On your view, there is no right and wrong, and no way we ought to be. Some people do what you do, and others don’t – choose what you like. You say these things are good (what you choose) because you are smuggling in a standard of morality from a Christian culture that you repudiate. Your choices, on your view, are arbitrary. But you expect us to assume a Christian worldview and then approve of you. But that’s not morality. It has no merit at all, on your view. It’s randomness and it doesn’t matter ultimately what you do.

      You feel there is no evidence for God. Have you looked into it? Ever seen a debate? How do Christians argue for the truth of their faith? In my experience, atheists believe what they believe because it makes it easier to justify their hedonism. They don’t encounter the evidence – they avoid it.

  12. Wintery:

    Who/what is God to you? This seems to be a central aspect of how you prove his existence. Have read through your postings and don’t see a clear answer of how you define Him/Her/It. And can you keep it to two short paragraphs, max? The Cliff Notes version, in other words.


    1. The eternal, non-material Creator and Designer of the physical universe who reveals himself most directly to us by stepping into history as the man, Jesus. Just the classical Christian theism view.

  13. Your characterization of atheists is generally true, I admit. Most just haven’t thought about it, being raised in a largely secular society there is simply no frame of reference for them when they’re old enough to really think about these things or to care. Not to trump my own situation as above theirs (as I know there are millions like me) but I believe my apostasy came from an informed place, having been raised a Christian. And, as any former theist will tell you, much as I’m firmly on the dark side of the fence, I continue to find the pursuit of arguments and evidences for and against the existence of god both intellectually and epistemologically rewarding. I am familiar with William Lane Craig, seen his debates, deplore the arrogance of Hitchens and Dawkins (even though I unfortunately agree with their central premise that the universe is indifferent to us earthlings), and I’m even sloughing at the moment through Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell”. And hey, I’m reading your blog, aren’t I?

    In any event, everything you say about the arbitrariness of morality in the absence of an objective one is also true. But… I have accepted that, as seemingly inconsistent and contrary to all our hopes as it may be. Just because our morality is arbitrary and subjective doesn’t mean it can’t be just that. So many theists (and especially Christians) seem as if they just cannot wrap their heads around the possibility that morality IS relative, subjective, and nuero-biological in origin. We might not like it, and we may feel convinced otherwise because it just doesn’t “fit” with our convictions, maybe because we were socialized to think otherwise or maybe, I’ll accept, because there is a “God module” in our brains that helps us out, as it did our ancestors, and can therefore be explained as an adaptation or at the very least an adaptively neutral by-product of a big, conscious brain. But that God module could be expressed in many forms, as it has, around the world, depending on the social and cultural environment in which one is raised. Whether it’s ancestor worship, animism, a Big Daddy in the Sky or worshipping teddy bears. (And I know the “genetic fallacy” retort, but that really is just a “no it’s not, yes it is” cyclical go-nowhere).

    I respect your beliefs and convictions; I accept my worldview to you seems like I want it all – to be nice, to live in a nice society where morality isn’t subjectively determined by lots of little Hitlers running the show, etc, etc, and not to have to pay homage or self-sacrifice to a God. Talk about cake and eating it. But, that’s just how it is – society wouldn’t work if we were all jerks to one another, and so really one cannot make the argument that “if morality is totally random and biological in origin, why isn’t systematic rape and pillaging the norm?”, because that’s simply not a system that would gain an evolutionary foothold. Evolution has more constraints than it does degrees of freedom, by many, many orders of magnitude. So religion doesn’t have the monopoly on morality – morality can exist in the absence of an objective standard. It’s an artifact of the social brain, and that’s ok. How to rule nation states, well, that’s up to the humanists and political theorists to figure out. We need some marriage of utilitarianism and divinely-backed ethics to keep the little people happy.

    anyway, if you choose to post this maybe it belongs in your “can atheists be moral” page.

    1. The more I come here, the more I feel my screen name fits me.

      You say that rape and pillage wouldn’t be the normal thing in an evolutionary universe because it wouldn’t gain a foot-hold. I disagree, on the grounds that if you were right, then social instincts should have been selected _against_. Raping some creature to propagate one’s genes would allow one to spread their genes faster than marriages, where one needs to raise the children (this implies that children that can survive without nurturing should be selected for as well). The organisms that can rape the most without being killed as a result of self-defense would be selected for, while organisms that cannot rape as many would not propagate their genes as often so would, predictably, be selected against. Male and female could both carry out these acts, and so the effect would actually be _more_ effective in selecting the strongest, since genetic weaknesses could likely be hiding in females, under the usual system of fighting for a mate we see in our universe. Rape then, is actually _preferred_ in evolution.

      Your point about pillaging is completely and obviously correct. If organisms are not social, they will not produce large enough amounts of some resource (usually –but not necessarily– food) for it to be worth stealing in a violent manner like this. If they are social, then it wouldn’t be the normal thing because one would expect the majority of any given social group to go pillaging at any given time. No social group would survive for very long because they wouldn’t be allocating resources that they had gathered in a more efficient manner toward long-term survival. Due to how organisms reproduce according to how much food is available, rather than what one could reasonably expect to be available in the near future, this system would fail.

      Even if we say that you are right about evolution of rape and other ‘evils’ it does nothing to defeat the moral argument. All it does is weaken the beliefs that some people have about our _knowledge_ of morals, rather than the _existence_ of morals.

      We aren’t open to the possibility of morals being subjective because it doesn’t make sense to us. What, we should ignore our properly basic beliefs about reality in order to embrace a system that is inconsistent? We are expected to act orderly in a system that has no good reason for structured, sensible behavior. We have properly basic beliefs about structured behavior. That is the strength of the moral argument.

      As a good argument against “Belief in God is an Evolutionary By-Product” would be epistemic in nature. Here’s mine:
      1. If belief in God is an evolutionary by-product, evolution can propagate false beliefs.
      2. If evolution can propagate false beliefs, then our properly basic beliefs about reality are questionable, even if true.
      3. Our properly basic beliefs about reality are what we base our knowledge on.
      4. Belief in God is an evolutionary by-product.
      5. Therefore, our beliefs are questionable.
      6. Therefore, our knowledge of the world is questionable.
      C. We cannot know anything about the world.
      The argument shows that we cannot allow the evolution of false beliefs to be biological. You will need to explain through other methods that theists are mistaken. We have given numerous arguments based on sound logic, so you can only really question the premises. I warn you, many of these premises are required in order to make sense of the world at all.

  14. This is a great blog, found you through apologetics315.

    Great to read how people came to Christ. Look forward to delving in to the crazy amount of posts you have. All looks good so far!

  15. I see your origins are half hindu-half muslim in.Which part of India did your parents come from ?

  16. Question 7: Is there a way for you to rationally persuade an atheist dictator to grant you mercy?

    Easy. Convert him to Christianity with the evidence. Christians are not permitted to murder anyone.

    I disagree with your answer here. Most problematic, in my opinion, is “Convert him to Christianity with the evidence”. According to Romans 1, people already know the truth they just suppress the knowledge. This is due to our total depravity. We run from God. Even though in debates the theist almost always smashes the atheist, it does not convert the atheist. If atheists are right and there is no God, then why should the care to debate the subject at all? What difference would our beliefs make to them? They want to suppress the knowledge for whatever reason, mainly they do not want to submit to anything.

    It takes a miracle by the Holy Spirit to get us to a point where we can accept Christianity. Not that we choose Christianity based on the evidence. Although evidence is a very useful tool.

    Most arguments for creation or naturalism are logical fallacies anyways. It is called affirming the consequent. The scientific method itself suffers this logical fallacy as well. So, if evidence is essentially founded on logical fallacies then why should we put trust in them? To put in a more precise question, which pieces of data are truly true, and which ones only seem true, and how would you know the difference? That is why I am essentially a presumptionalist. Although, I do like evidentialists argumentation for evangelical purposes.

    All knowledge flows from God and the Bible and that must be our knowledge base before proper scientific inquiry can happen. Science is the handmaiden to theology.

    1. Which argument for creation is a logical fallacy? Name it. And I want a link to the argument and then explain the fallacy in the argument.

      My concern with pre-suppositionalism is that it is unBiblical – Jesus used the evidence form miracles, and his apostles used the evidence from his resurrection.

      I do use pre-sup arguments (morality, reason) but I must punish you for saying bad things about arguments from nature.

  17. Hi wintery

    I’m a regular reader on this blog though I’ve never commented.
    I was wondering if you have any resources for guidance in life matters , for troubled times , making important decisions and other stuff .. nothing to do with apologetics of course.I’m familiar with most of the arguments in apologetics.

    Oh I’m an orhthodox christian from Bangalore.Cheers !

  18. Wintery:


    You have some GREAT stuff here. THANK YOU for putting all this online and allowing the general public access to God’s everlasting glory.

    LOVE the line about the feminization of churches and this rather anti-intellectual stance of being against apologetics. The symptom of this “disease” is that I walk into any Christian bookstore and the section on Apologetics is wafer thin.

    Really heartfelt thanks. Again.

    Fred Woodbridge

  19. yeah insighftful stuff.This blog does a great job of reconciling politics , culture and christianity in the West.

    Why not do the odd post that explores Christianity in the East – that’s half the world out there – a billion adherents ;-)

  20. You have a really great blog. I just wanted to make one point. You ought to pursue happiness. I think it’s one of the wonderful things God has given us. I don’t think you should let it dominate your life, but doing what makes you happy – a few books and movies now and then – is good.

    1. Wisdom Literature (e.g. Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) has a lot to say on the topic of happiness (Greek usage) and wisdom. It ought to be pursued when understood properly.

  21. WK,

    I noticed you don’t have the ontological argument on your ‘Why I’m a Christian page’. Is it that you don’t think it’s a sound argument? I know a guy whose formulation of the argument is virtually irrefutable.

  22. I don’t want to get into the full religious argument, but a small point, speaking as a Jew:

    The first commandment of the Jewish Sh’ma is actually: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”. What you excerpted was not the Sh’ma, but rather the V’ahavta.

    I wonder if you leave out this sentence because Trinitarian Christians (which would include most American Protestants) deny or at least radically modify the idea that God is One, replacing it with the mysterious Three Persons in One Substance. The v’ahavta goes on to say:

    “These words which I am commanding you today must remain on your heart. Teach them to your children and speak of them when you are at home, when traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind [these words] as a sign on your hand, and let them be an emblem in the center of your head. [Also] write them on [parchments affixed to] the doorposts of your houses and gates.”

    Aside from the requirement to put a mezzuzah on your doorpost (which you can think of as symbolic), it also is a requirement to preserve the commandments of the Law as perpetual commandments, which Pauline Christians (which would also include almost all American Protestants) also reject. (Hebrews 8: “In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”)

    So while I love the watchword of our faith, I find it unusual for a Protestant to try to quote it as the basis of his.

    1. “The lord our God is [echad]” Echad is the Hebrew word for compound unity. “The Lord our God is [compound unity]”. If God were a monad, rather than a triad, the passage from the sh’ma would read “The Lord our God is [yachid]”, which represents absolute oneness.

      What I want to know is whether the V’ahasta is in the Bible, and I’m going to see if your objection can be answered.

      Pauline Christians also reject that the ten commandments are perpetual commands? I guess I’m not Pauline, then. Paul said that the law does not save us, but he still condemned those who acted against it. It seems these Pauline people are not very “Paulish.”
      This is probably one of the ONLY things that I agree with Catholics about, where disagreement is not heresy: “One is saved by grace, and this grace is revealed to men by the faith and works of those who accept it.” Hence, to keep the Decalogue is important.

      1. Actually. the Hebrew word “echad” means “one”. Just listen to anyone counting in Hebrew.

        Or how do you translate Genesis 1:9?
        “Vayomer Elohim yikavu hamayim mitachat hashamayim el-makom *echad* vetera’eh hayabashah vayehi chen.”

        The v’ahavta is Deuteronomy 6:5ff:

        “Ve’ahavta et-Adonay Eloheycha bechol-levavcha uvechol-nafshecha uvechol-me’odecha.”

  23. You make all sorts of claims about atheists and atheism which either aren’t true or are true of only some of us.

    Atheism means a disbelief in God. Nothing else necessarily follows from this.

    1. If you make the claim that there is no being that created and designed the universe, and you have reasons and evidence to show why you believe it, then you are an atheist.

  24. Yes. Even if you have no reason or evidence you’d still be an atheist. It is the other claims you make about atheism that aren’t necessarily implied.

  25. I stumbled across your blog not long ago and what I have read so far, I like.

    I had one question for you though. In what way do you believe you can lose your salvation? I’m not quite understanding that in your post.

  26. Though I have not yet read as much of your blog as I would prefer, most of what I have read from you, Wintry, I find wonderfully refreshing and stimulating. Your testimony above is most enlightening. Having taught in India on three visits there (’97, ’99, ’01) I have met others there who did not grow up in Christian homes, but came to faith in and followership of Christ by their private studies of the NT.

    I share your enthusiasm for the works of William Lane Craig, C.S. Lewis, Walter Bradley, etc., your respect for biblical inerrancy, chastity, Old Earth Creationism, etc., and the importance of evidential Christian apologetics (having taught in this field for several decades).

    Might you like to email me privately concerning a related project?

  27. What is your “go to” argument with atheists? Recently I have been reading “Reasonable Faith” by William Lane Craig, in which he surveys the history of philosophical views on God.

    As I was thinking about the classic arguments for God, I started to realize that The Cosmological Argument and The Teleological Argument are especially involved, and can become quite technical. They are good arguments, just not the easiest or most direct for showing people God exists.

    I settled on the Moral Argument as the most effective and practical for apologetics. In the Moral Argument, atheists have no ground for morals, and this is where the absurdity of their view shows up most clearly. Also, the MA naturally leads into the Gospel.

    Interestingly, WLC also stated that while his favorite argument is the Cosmological, he also thinks the Moral Argument is most practical since everyone is immediately affected by morals and ethics.

    What do you think?

    1. I like to present 5 scientific arguments first, without the philosophy, by telling the stories of what naturalists thought at the beginning of the process of discovery, how they fought the discoveries, and then how they responded to the discoveries with speculations and mathematical models that cannot be tested.

      So I tell 5 stories:
      – the evidence that led us to believe in a beginning of the universe
      – the evidence that our universe’s fundamental constants and quantities are finely-tuned to permit complex embodied life
      – the evidence that the origin of life requires an intelligence to arrange components into functional sequences
      – the evidence that places in the universe where discoveries are possible also happen to be hospitable to life
      – the evidence that the origin of the major body plans occurred suddenly, within a 3-5 million year period in the Cambrian era

      In each case, I’ll talk about individual discoveries, who made them, when they were made, and where it was published. E.g. – cosmic microwave background radiation or fine-tuning of strong force.

      If the person I am talking to does not understand science, then I use the moral argument.

      Once they admit that naturalism is false, I start with the minimal facts approach to the resurrection, then an argument for the general reliability of the gospels.

    2. I must agree with WK that it also depends on who you are talking to. i have had atheists come to repentance without any intellectual argument, simply because their issues was with a misunderstanding of Who God really is and the implications for their own lives, rather than any real intellectual reasons. Of course I also have atheists friends who are primarily atheists because of their understanding of the Bible and science. And I have atheist friends who are atheists simply because that is the way they were raised. One size does not fit all. On the other hand, God tends to send people across our paths with whom He wants us to have a conversation, and not just randomly. So many times our “favourite” argument would also be the best fit for the people He wants us to reach.

  28. Wintery Knight, just came across your site and I agree on so many things that you express here. Question: do you believe in the big bang and that God had to use that to create the universe? Do you not take the Bible literally? Is it hard for God to create a universe just by His word? Our intricate DNA is made out of words, why not the universe?

  29. Hi Wintery Knight, I came across your site from reading the Poached Egg and enjoy what you write.

    I came to Christ three and a half years ago now. I was not looking for Him, and I certainly never in my wldest dreams imagined that I would become a Christian. I was an anti Christian agnostic, who when asked what I believed would often reply “I don’t know, but definitely not Christianity”. I was born into a Catholic church going family of irish heritage and by my early adult years rejected the faith as superstitious nonsense. I could even be antagonistic towards anyone who dared talk Jesus to me. My journey to Him is a long and convoluted one, but it started in the most unexpected way. I unexpectedly prayed one night after the death of my father, and to my own surprise proclaimed my love for God, and was immediatley filled with a feeling of love so overwhelming it shook me to my core. That one incident set me on a path to find the truth, and eventually to Christ. The thing is despite being a church going Catholic in my ealry years, who also went to catholic school, I never knew who Jesus was. I had a terrible misunderstanding of Him, his mission, and why he died for us. I thank the Lord every evening that he allowed me to live long enough to find him.

  30. Hi. I just found your website.
    I saw that you believe one can lose their salvation.
    Can you explain to me how you justify these verses with that belief? Thanks!
    John 10: 7-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
    1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

  31. I just spent a couple of hours going over various sections on your blog. To say that I feel intimidated would be an understatement. You are obviously more intelligent and educated than I am. I will be going over, in detail, your list of Positive Arguments for Christian Theism. We obviously travel in different circles. I thank you for the work that you are doing and look forward to what I will learn. God bless.

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…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square