Tag Archives: dawkins

Poor arguments to make with theists

circle-slash.jpgThis is a companion piece to Poor arguments to make with atheists.  I deliberately used theists instead of Christians to keep things simple, though I did use some Christian examples below.  I accumulated these from various atheist web sites or comments made here.

I enjoy questions with people who are willing to have a charitable dialogue.  I don’t waste time with people who come by with poorly reasoned sound bites they picked up from their Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris trinity or the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites.   My hope is that people will reflect on at least one of these and realize how they’ve been repeating things without thinking about them carefully. And if they were misinformed on these simple things, then where else have their instructors misled them?

It is also written to encourage believers when they hear these things in the secular world — and in some churches!  We live in the world that the one true God created, so there will always be reasonable explanations to the nothing-made-everything fantasy sound bites of atheism.

1.  There are lots of denominations within Christianity and lots of religions with differing truth claims.  There must be a solid majority with complete agreement for God to be real, so this is evidence that there is no God.

And where did they arrive at this piece of spiritual truth?   But if the truth is determined by a majority vote, then there must be a God.  There are far more religious people than atheists.  But the truth is the truth no matter how few agree, and a lie is a lie no matter how many agree. And if the majority rules with respect to truth claims then atheism is false, because most people believe there is a God.

Christianity claims to be the narrow road.  Jesus didn’t expect a majority to follow him.  And the Bible addresses many false teachings and warns of others to come.
Also, as one atheist noted when trying to rally people to do “raiding parties” on theist sites, “Atheists as we all know from bitter arguments on this site, embrace a pretty broad range of views.”  So by their logic they must have a false worldview, right?
2. Why is it that religious people resort to imaginary answers (faith) built on the circular reasoning that the bible provides those answers? Does god exist? Yes, because the bible says so. D’uh!.

That is an actual quote.  I got this a lot from the Dawkins’ blog “raiding party.”  I call this the fallacy-within-a-fallacy argument.  They make a straw man argument about us making a circular argument.

I never made that claim about the Bible other than noting that the Bible does claim 3,000 times to speak for God and that it is a sort of necessary condition to be considered the word of God.  We have lots of reasons to believe it is the word of God, but we don’t need circular reasoning for it.

He also uses a non-Biblical definition of faith.  We have faith in something, and it isn’t a “blind faith” or a faith in spite of the evidence.

3. Arguing from incredulity: You just have a made-up invisible friend in the sky, etc., etc.  Do you probably believe in santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

This charming ad hominem attack works both ways.  I submit that A is far more incredible to believe than B, and could have expanded on A for days.

A. The universe was created from nothing without a cause and organized itself into the spectacular level of complexity we see today, including life being created from non-life, and it evolved to create the “fictions” of morality and consciousness.

B. The universe was created by an eternally existent God.

We have lots of evidence for the existence of God: Cosmological (”first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, the physical resurrection of Jesus, etc.  If atheists don’t find that compelling, then so be it. I’m on the Great Commission, not the paid commission. But to insist that we have no evidence is uncharitable in the extreme and makes reasoned dialogue virtually impossible.

4. Arguments from ridicule (also see #3).  You can sprinkle in some ridicule to make an argument more entertaining, but using it as your primary argument is weak and fallacious.  Having visited quite a few atheist websites this seems to be their main line of reasoning.

5. As a Christian, you deny all gods but one. As an atheist, I deny all gods. We’re practically the same.

This is a cute but horribly illogical argument.  Saying there is no God isn’t a little different than saying there is one God, it is the opposite.  That’s like saying, “You deny all other women as your wives except one, so you’re practically the same as a single person.”

6. You don’t have empirical evidence for ____ (God, the resurrection, etc.).

To quote Bubba: “Can one prove that only empirical evidence is trustworthy? Better yet, can one prove this by using only empirical evidence?”

The answers, of course, are no and no.

The argument is a “heads we win, tails you lose” trick.  They say that you can only consider natural causes for the creation of the universe, and since they have nothing to test then there could not have been any supernatural cause, right?

And we do have lots of evidence for the resurrection.  Lots more evidence for God’s existence and for Christianity here and here.

7. Parents shouldn’t be allowed to indoctrinate / brainwash their children with religious beliefs.

The brainwashing must not be working, because so many people leave the church.  And why isn’t it brainwashing when the schools do it with evolution and their sickening strategies to take away the innocence of young children?  These freaks are telling 5 year old children that they can pick their gender!  That’s child abuse.

I find it interesting that with such low church attendance, general Biblical illiteracy and the monopoly that materialism has in public education that most people still don’t buy the macro-evolution lie.  No wonder evolutionists are so frustrated!

Some parents may go overboard with the fear of Hell thing.  But parents have rights, and more importantly, strong warnings are only inappropriate if the consequence in question is not true.

8. The Bible teaches _____ [fill in hopelessly (and deliberately?) wrong interpretation].

Please learn more about the Bible and the faith you are trying to criticize.  Straw-man arguments are unproductive.  This is perhaps the most common error I come across.  It seems like a week rarely goes by without someone using the “shrimp/shellfish argument,” which is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address five serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument.

9. Christians disagree on what the Bible teaches (or Muslims disagree on the Koran, etc.) so there can’t be one right answer.

Just because a book is capable of being misunderstood doesn’t mean it is incapable of being understood.  Disagreements in science don’t mean everyone must be wrong.

If you have actually studied the Bible you’ll note that it addresses many false teachings and warns that there will always be false teachers.  So the concept that people disagree on what the Bible says isn’t exactly newsworthy.  It is Biblical, in fact.

10. Why do religious people keep quoting bits out of a book written long ago by stone aged (or bronze aged) and ignorant men?

The men who wrote the Bible were quite intelligent.  The Apostle Paul, for example, was well educated, articulate and a clear thinker.  Go read the book of Romans and see what I mean.

The age of the book is completely irrelevant, of course.  If God wrote it the message would be timeless.  And of course, if it were written last week they’d complain that it was too late.

The complaint that our responses are old is also invalid.  The objections are old as well.  The funny thing is that over the last 2,000 years brilliant theists have wrestled with the same questions the New Atheists have, except with more clarity and thoughtfulness.

11. Why do religious people not understand the scientific and philosophical arguments against the existence of god which clearly refute its existence?

This commenter didn’t share any of those arguments or refer to any sources, so it is difficult to answer even if the objection didn’t have a flawed premise (it is basically a “have you stopped beating your wife” type of question that anyone on any side of an issues could use).  Many of us know and understand the arguments and how to respond to them.

12. I can’t understand or conceive of why God would set things up this way, so He must not exist.

We call this “creating God in your own image.”  See the 2nd Commandment.  The atheists making claims like that paraphrase are actually making ironic theological statements, because they claim to know what God should “really” be like.

If you create your own universe with working DNA and such, you can make your own rules.  But whether you like it or not you play by God’s rules in this universe and you’ll have to give an account for your life.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  If you suppress the truth in unrighteousness you will experience God’s wrath for eternity.  You will be judged by God for all your sins, including your darkest, most shameful secret thoughts and deeds.  And the standard won’t be some other sinner like me, it will be the perfect righteousness of Jesus.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

13. Some people who call themselves Christians do and/or say stupid things, so Christianity is false.

That doesn’t disprove Christianity any more than atheists doing and saying stupid things proves that there is a God.

In fact, Christians saying and doing stupid things probably bothers us more than it does atheists.  Believe it or not, we have some common ground there.

14. Religion poisons everything!  What about the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.?!

That is unproductive hyperbole.  Religion has done many great things – helping the poor, advancing education for the masses, helping women, building hospitals and schools, great art, etc.

You don’t judge an ideology based on the actions of those who violate its tenets.  Click the link above for more.

The Salem Witch trials killed 18 people.  The Inquisition killed about 2,000.  That is 2,018 too many, to be sure, but keep in mind two things: The perpetrators did the opposite of what Jesus commanded and 2,018 murders was a slow afternoon for atheists like Stalin and Mao.

Here’s a quote from a guy trying to rally atheists to their cause by raiding theist blogs like this one – to rescue the world from this religious poison, I suppose.  Messiah complex, anyone?

In a very real (but perhaps overly dramatic sense) the fate of the planet is at stake.

Uh, yes, “perhaps.”  But if atheism is true then who cares if the planet dies?  You must use empirical evidence to prove why it would be a bad thing :-).

I have noted that these critics focus almost exclusively on Christianity.  When you point this out to them they squirm and say it is the one they are most familiar with.  But with the growth of radical Islam and the perversions of the caste system in India you’d think they’d spread their evangelical atheism out a bit.

15. Religion gets in the way of scientific progress.

That is simply untrue.  The Galileo story that people usually refer to has many mythical elements.  And how many people can cite an example besides Galileo?  And who knows, maybe Einstein’s presupposition of a static universe caused his error with the cosmological constant.  After all, an expanding universe certainly gives more support to a theist model than a static one.

Darwinistic philosophy caused errors like assuming that “Junk DNA” was really junk.

16. You don’t use reason and we do.

That is just patently false.  Atheists just don’t like the reasons.  Christianity in particular encourages and applauds the use of reason.  Countless great thinkers and scientists were Bible-believing Christians.  Darwinistic philosophy can’t even account for reason, because macro-evolution would select for survivability, not truth.

17. But the Bible condones slavery!  It is ironic that this is one of the most common excerpts from the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound bites. Why? Because on atheism there is no grounding to say that slavery is wrong. Survival of the fittest rules, baby. So for starters, they shouldn’t be so judgmental about what their worldview couldn’t rightly judge.

Also, this doesn’t sound like condoning to me: Exodus 21:16 Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

Please read that again, then realize that the critics of God use the logical fallacy of equivocation to make their point — that is, they assume that all forms of slavery are the same.

Oh, and don’t forget to praise the Christians who ended slavery.

And don’t forget to fight the Muslim and other slavery that goes on today and please stop using p*rn, which is directly tied to sex slavery. That is, if you really care about slavery.

More background on the Bible and slavery here, or just search on the Bible and slavery.  There are lots of thorough articles for those with sincere interest in the topic.

18. But the God of the Bible committed genocide!  First, if you create a universe from scratch you are welcome to deal with any of your creatures who rebel against your authority as you see fit.  He is sovereign over life and death for everyone and makes no apology for it.

But the clearing out of the Promised Land involved a one-time cleansing of a group of people who had committed the atrocities listed in Leviticus 18 for over 400 years.  If you want to judge God, a more logical question would be why He waited so long!

And that was it.  No wars of conquest.  No hints in the New Testament that Christianity should use any coercion to get people to believe.

19.  If it aligned with facts and logic, it would not be religion. It would be science. Logical fallacy: Category error. Science deals with the material. Religion deals with the immaterial and the material. Both use facts and logic.

—–

Closing thoughts: As frequent commenter Edgar has pointed out so well, even if every religion is completely false and atheism is true, then naturalism is to blame.  So it is irrational to get mad at religion or religious people.  We’re just doing what our genes tell us to.

And, of course, you would have absolutely nothing to be proud about.  You haven’t accomplished anything and haven’t generated any brilliant or meaningful ideas.  You are just a bag of chemicals that thinks you have.  Congratulations!  You have no reason for bitterness or grandstanding.

All fun aside, those who can stay away from time-wasting arguments and who want to engage in an actual dialogue are welcome.

I hope that atheists reconsider their views.  Eternity is a mighty long time.  The true God of the universe delights to show forgiveness and mercy, but you must come to him on his terms: Repenting and trusting in Jesus.

You can’t dictate the terms and conditions to parents, bosses, teachers, police, or even a McDonald’s cashier, so don’t be foolish and think you can do that with God. The rich young ruler walked away sadly when he didn’t like God’s terms and conditions but Jesus didn’t chase after him to negotiate.

“But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

You probably saw this article about the “Christian” rapper who left Christianity after 20 years as a professing Christian.  Here’s a sample via: Christian Rapper Renounces Christianity, Citing ‘Human Errors of the Bible,’ ‘Brutal Nature of Its God’ — and There’s More

A famed Christian rapper in the U.K. is making headlines after announcing that he has “turned away” from Christianity, with the performer unleashing the “negatives” that he claims to have found within the faith.“I need not explain myself to anyone but I feel the need to make a quick statement,” rapper Jahaziel wrote in a Dec. 22 Facebook post. “A short while ago I turned away from 20 years as a professing Christian.”He continued, “I had a good job with a church organization, a house provided by the church, a large social circle of likeminded people, a career in gospel music, a worldwide fan base, a respected reputation [and] status within Christian and non-Christian circles.”I need not explain myself to anyone but I feel the need to make a quick statement. A short while ago I turned away from…Posted by Jahaziel on Tuesday, December 22, 2015Despite losing many or all of these things, Jahaziel said that he still has his integrity, and explained why he’s leaving his faith behind. While he said that he learned some “great principles” from Christianity and the Bible, he believes that these sentiments aren’t “exclusive to any religion.”“I have met many sincere Christians, both church goers and church leaders, and although I have not seen every one of the 40,000 Christian denominations currently in existence I think I have seen enough to personally make a general conclusion regarding Christianity in the broadest sense,” Jahaziel said.He then went on to share some of the “negatives” that he claims to have observed about the faith, including: “its controlling dictatorship, its historic blood trail, its plagiarized bible stories characters and concepts, the many human errors of the bible and its contradictions, the brutal nature of its God, it’s involvement in the slave trade, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch hunts, it’s second class view of women, it’s masculinization of God, it’s emasculation of men, its financial corruption.”Apparently leaving christianity means I was never TRULY a christian… Only those who know me, know that’s utter bullshit.— Jahaziel (@jahazielmusic) January 4, 2016

It would be easy to pick on this confused guy who has obviously read too much of the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites and not enough of the Bible.  He spent 20 years in church and as a professional “Christian” and never came across this crystal-clear passage?

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Indeed.  Yes, I’m sure he went through the motions, but that is where much of the fault lies: With the churches, family, friends and followers who let these celebrity Christians and Christian celebrities get away without solid preaching, discipleship and accountability.

If you preach real sermons then goats like this will either convert or run away.  But if you do world-friendly “Christian” Left “sermons” then the sheep will starve and the goats will stay.  Same thing for discipleship and accountability.  The goats have no interest in that.

And most churches are too gutless to exercise any church discipline.  They find it easier to coddle the goats and even let the wolves stay.  I have only seen church discipline done at one church, and it was amazingly effective.  Surprising what happens when you actually obey Jesus, eh?  Instead of taking Matthew 18:20 out of context they actually followed the entire passage.

And did anyone even share Romans 10:9 with him?

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

He should have realized a long time ago that he hadn’t confessed that or really believed it.  Because none of his explanations talked about why he no longer believed Jesus rose from the dead.

Of course, that doesn’t mean people can’t have doubts.  Just pray to God to strengthen your faith as this guy did:

Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

If you aren’t a Christian today, you never were one.  Once really saved, always really saved.  But there is Good News!  You can become one if you repent and believe.

Also see Once lost, always lost? about the Hebrews 6 verse that some use to argue against eternal security.

Yeah, evolution just happened to create your 37.2 trillion cells

The human body is endlessly fascinating.  Jesus created such spectacularly intricate designs in us!  Did you know there are 37.2 Trillion Cells in Your Body?  The evolutionists believe on blind faith* that the universe came from nothing**, that life came from non-life and that we just evolved to what we see today.

Their life (death) passage:

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

—–

*Atheist scientist Richard Lewontin’s quote is a classic example of Darwinist question-begging — that is, assuming what they claim to be proving:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

 

**Here is a list of scientists who claimed something came from nothing.

Responses to common atheist objections

I thought I’d share this thread from a recent commenter on the How many translations did your Bible go through? post.

Thanks for returning to comment. You seem unwilling to carefully study the arguments for and against your position, and you continually offer logical fallacies as arguments. The primary way you do this is by misstating your opponent’s views and then attacking that position. But that doesn’t prove anything.

You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism.

What grounding do you have to claim they were insane or that they did anything wrong? In a Darwinian worldview they were obviously the most fit for a time.

Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone.

That’s not much of an accomplishment, but I’m glad to hear that.

The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

But atheism has no core tenets other than insisting that there is no God. We agree that murder is wrong, but your worldview can’t explain why.

This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

“Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

Dawkins commits fallacies similar to yours. First, the reward for being good is legitimate because it is innately tied to the act. There is a reason that students who study hard are rewarded with better grades, why employees who perform well are rewarded with promotions and raises, etc. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sin so as to avoid punishment. What could be more logical than that?

Dawkins’ argument, even if true, wouldn’t disprove God.

Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

Atheists love making the false argument that Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. There have been nearly 3,000 posts on this blog plus tens of thousands of comments. Please find where Christians have made that claim. You’ll be looking a long time. What you will find is that we say that without God you can’t logically ground morality. It isn’t that you can’t be moral if Darwinian evolution is true, it is that there would be no such thing.

Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions.

We have much more evidence than the Bible, though of course that is part of the evidence. You have already demonstrated that you’ve never studied the Bible seriously. You are just repeating atheist sound bites. There are answers to all your alleged contradiction claims (though I doubt you could name 3 supposed contradictions without having to search for them).

Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong.

There are many good reasons to believe that the Gospels — at least the first three — were written before that. Please see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/when-was-the-new-testament-written/ — that is, if you are truly interested in facts and logic.

And it is fallacious to say that just because things could be wrong that they must be wrong.

Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

I don’t follow . . . if nearly 1/3 of the Gospel texts address the last week of his life and if the entire religion is based on him dying for our sins and rising again, and if the Bible records that his earthly ministry was the last three years of his life, and if the Bible records that his followers didn’t realize He’d die and rise from the dead, then exactly why would you expect the writings to occur before He died and rose again?

Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it.

I could say the same about you regarding Christianity, only I’d have the truth of the Bible to back me up: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

But you have nothing in atheism to back up your statement. If your worldview is true, then random chemical reactions are solely responsible for my conversion from atheism to my belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why be so mad at your own worldview if it is the “obvious” cause for Christianity?

It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

Once again you show that you haven’t read the book. Please note these two teachings then reconsider your statements:

Acts 17:11 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

Christians are specifically told to use good discernment in testing truth claims.

No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

We can use logic and facts to demonstrate that it came into being at a point in time, and it is obvious that whatever created it had to be more powerful and significant than what was created.

It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation.

That is another one of your made-up claims. We preach the entire truth of God. We do love him, and for good reasons. He is a God of love, but will also punish sin as any just judge would. And we love our neighbors, so we tell them the truth about Jesus: He died on a cross for the sins of all who would repent and believe in him. If you want to pay for your own sins for eternity, that is your option.

That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history?

Because I have good reasons to believe that those are false.

It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form.

Then you are an atheist because of where you were born, right? You know nothing of the Bible. I’m a Christian because God made me spiritually alive and turned me to him through his Word. He does that all over the world every day. People convert from all sorts of belief systems to Christianity.

Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right.

I agree with you. That is another made-up argument on your part.

Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

No, it is based on trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in repenting of sins. Really, read the book. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret spouting atheist sound bites in rebellion against your creator.

An honest but still inconsistent atheist

Even when atheists try to be candid and concede many of our points, they still have trouble being consistent with their worldview.  Via An atheist explains the real consequences of adopting an atheistic worldview.

Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.

We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.

I’m glad he was candid about his core beliefs. That is useful in exposing atheism. But even when they are trying to be honest they are still inconsistent:

So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one.

But he just got through saying there is no standard and glibly states he is just obeying his DNA. How can he say someone else’s atheism is inferior?

You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all.

Again, there’s that standard implying that more evolution is better than less.

I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may.

Again, why be more truthful if there is no merit in it? And why persuade anyone to do anything if we are all just obeying our DNA anyway?

Here’s why: Because their worldview is foolish rebellion.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits.  All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 3

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the third question:

How do you deal with questions around homosexuality? This is a tricky subject because this is a high school audience and sexuality has to be taught respectfully and with sensitivities to the teens and young ladies in the classroom.

This is a huge and contentious issue, and one that Satan is using to keep people from the faith and to divide entire denominations.  Many people use the homosexual issue as an excuse not to even consider Christianity.  That may tempt some people to gloss over the topic or misstate what the Bible says.

Yes, we should be sensitive with it, but when you consider about how aggressively the world pressures us with its false views I think we should be more bold in equipping young people about the details.

Make no apologies about what the Bible really says, because it couldn’t be more clear.  Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people** (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).planned
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

Then there is the question of love.  If you really love people you won’t affirm behavior that is spiritually, emotionally and physically destructive.

But do you have to convert people to your views on homosexuality before sharing the Gospel with them?  No.  Of course you shouldn’t water down the truth, but what you really want to do is share the Gospel and let God do his work on their hearts.  As I noted in this post, you don’t have to fix someone’s sins before telling them the truth about Jesus.  The point is to let Jesus do that!  We should approach all people with humility, because we all have temptations that we’ve given into.

It is easy to quickly affirm what the Bible says (“Yes, homosexual behavior is a sin”) but then shift to the Gospel (“But even if it wasn’t a sin you would still be a sinner in need of a Savior . . .”).

Don’t be shy about pointing out the lies of the LGBTQ movement.  People aren’t “born that way,” and even if they were that wouldn’t justify acting on the behavior.  Quoting the Bible doesn’t make LGBTQ people commit suicide any more than saying “don’t get drunk” makes alcoholics kill themselves.  “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron and those unions can never produce children or ever provide a mother and a father to a child, so the government has no good reasons to get involved in those relationships.

Make no mistake: The LGBTQ lobby wants to silence Christians.  Lots of us may end up in jail before this is over.  It may not be long until you won’t be employable if you don’t affirm the lie that the behavior isn’t sinful.

Here are some links that go into more detail.  This is a crucial issue so I encourage people to read them.  Feel free to use the PowerPoint slides if you like (I prepared them for a series of Sunday School lessons).

Problems with pro-gay theology  

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology  

Responding to same-sex marriage arguments

PowerPoint slides: Refuting pro-gay theology

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

** The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 2

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the second question:

If God is morally good, all loving and kind, why did he command the stoning of people, or the annihilation of entire peoples (man, women, children, babies, etc)? Why does God allow evil at all?

This is a great opportunity to ask clarifying questions.  Typically, it will highlight that the skeptics know very little about the issues they are questioning.  They are often just repeating sound bites they have heard from Richard Dawkins and the like.

I encourage you to never dodge this topic!  At a minimum you have an opportunity to share this truth: God used the most evil act in history to bring about the greatest good in history.  Jesus was the perfect man (far beyond our comprehension) but was betrayed, given an unjust trial, brutally beaten and then nailed to a cross like a piece of meat until He died.  That was the most evil act in human history.  Yet it brought about the greatest good: The salvation of countless sinners who could never be reconciled to God on their own.  So never underestimate God’s ability to appropriately punish and redeem evil. (Hat tip to John Piper)

Then you can ask questions like this:

  • Who was stoned, and why?  Do you understand the context of how the Jews were set apart as special people and were to be a witness to the world?
  • Who was annihilated?  (No “entire peoples” were annihilated, and there was no genocide, though the inhabitants of the Promised Land were supposed to have been completely eliminated in a one-time cleansing.)
  • Why did God command the land to be cleared out?  (The skeptic probably doesn’t know that God had given them 400 years to repent, yet they continued to offer child sacrifices and more.)
  • If God were to eliminate every bit of evil from the universe at midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01?  Remember, you would be judged based on his standards.  You don’t get to compare your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits.
  • Do you want God to completely remove your ability to disobey him?  That would make a great prayer!
  • Do you think you are in a position to sit in judgment of God?  If there is a God, would we be in a position to dictate the terms and conditions to him?
  • Would a loving and kind God let sins like child sacrifice go unpunished?  (Young children were literally placed on burning hot statues to be killed.)

Those kinds of questions can provide opportunities to point to what the Bible really says, and can put God’s actions in perspective.  One of our biggest problems is always looking at things from our viewpoint, and forgetting that ultimately it is all about God and his glory — and rightfully so!

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.