At first glance, worldview seems like an arcane topic reserved only for the more philosophically minded. Discussing worldviews can get tedious and sometimes downright arbitrary. However, worldview thinking is becoming increasingly necessary for Christians to understand the world around them properly. Continue reading “Say It with Me: Worldview”
What do one million dollars look like? Well, that depends.
If you want to see a million dollars in $100 bills, I am afraid it is not all that impressive, fitting into an oversized briefcase. If you wanted to see a million in $20 bills, it is a bit less underwhelming. At least it would be something that could qualify as an actual pile of money.
However, if you wanted to see a million dollars in $1 bills, now that actually looks like a lot of money. At Chicago’s Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum, a rotating “cube of cash” is on display. One million $1 bills fill a 64 cubit foot case and weights over a ton. As a single stack, it would reach nearly four hundred feet in height.
What does Christian apologetics look like? Well, that depends. Continue reading “Would-be and Wouldn’t-be Apologists”
Nonbelievers give many reasons for believing that God does not exist. Some say they cannot reconcile modern scientific thinking with belief in God. Some say that there is not enough historical evidence.
Then there is an entire category of questions about God with a different common theme: judging God’s character and actions. In this category, questions like the following are asked:
- How could God allow evil and suffering?
- How could God send people to Hell?
- Why would God put a tree in the Garden of Eden, knowing Adam and Eve would eat of it?
- Why would God make only one way to Heaven available?
These are certainly legitimate questions, which Christian thinkers over the centuries have treated with care. But, notice the common denominator. The real alternatives assumed in these questions are not whether God exists, but whether he is justified in what he does, assuming he exists.
Here’s the thing…
Discussing God’s existence and judging God’s character are two very different endeavors. Yet, people act as though how God exists determines if God exists. It is as if they are saying only when God’s character and actions are acceptable to us will his existence be plausible to us. Continue reading “How Could Someone Who Does Not Believe in God Judge Him?”
How do we deal with the whys of this generation or any generation for that matter?
As always, the conflict with the cultural current drives us back to an ancient book. God has blessed us with His Word which transcends all cultural whims and addresses every cultural concern. In the middle of the Apostle Peter’s first letter, we find a command, which presents a solution to the question at hand, why.
It is a riddle that philosophers have pondered, skeptics have flaunted, and theologians have debated for centuries. If God is all-powerful and all-good, then why is evil so rampant?
If God is all-powerful, then he would be more than able to rid the world of evil.
If God is all-good, then he would be more than willing to rid the world of evil.
But, there is evil in this world. Everywhere, it seems. So, what’s the deal?
Is God able but not willing? Then he is not good. Is God willing but not able? Then he is not powerful. Either way, he is not God.
Popularly attributed to 4th-century philosopher Epicurus, and popularized by 18th-century philosopher David Hume, this form of the problem of evil poses the question: How can we reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of God? In other words, if God exists, why is there so much evil? The philosophical/theological debate rages to this day.
However, the problem of evil is a problem for everyone, not just philosophers and theologians. We see horrific things happening every day. When we are on the receiving end of that evil, we find that no amount of philosophy can soothe, and no amount of argumentation can heal. In those movements, believers are left with their faith shaken, and unbelievers are left with their doubts confirmed. The pain and suffering leave us wanting, not an argument, but an answer.
So, is the evil we see in the world the indictment against God’s existence that so many for so long have said it is?
Here’s the thing…
Evil, both moral and natural, with all the pain and suffering it causes, does not drive us away from God. It drives us towards God.
A Modern Misconception
For many people, the term “blind faith” is redundant. The popular assumption is that a sort of blindness is inherent, and often intentional, in religious faith. This notion is prevalent in popular conversation on the topic. Famous quotes are thrown around, like that time that Mark Twain quipped, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Or there was that one time Ayn Rand wrote, “Faith is the commitment of one’s consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or rational proof.” In his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, Peter Boghossian identified his two favorite definitions of faith as “belief without evidence” and “pretending to know things you don’t.”
By definition—at least by popular definition—faith is blind.
Consequently, faith and rationality are often seen as incompatible, mutually exclusive terms. They are treated as opposite approaches to truth. On a popular level, it is assumed by many unbelievers that if a person is rational, they have no need for faith. On a personal level, it is assumed by many believers that if a person has faith, there is no need for rationality.
But why do we assume that there is this great divide between faith and reason?
Here’s the thing…
I don’t know.
The Bible describes a marriage between faith and reason, not a divorce. Besides, everyone’s worldview at some point rests on accepting a foundational idea by faith, no matter how much rationality precedes it.
The Definition of Apologetics
Hearing the word “apologetics,” many immediately think of our modern understanding of what it means to apologize for something as an expression of regret. This could be understandably confusing since we are talking about Christian apologetics, potentially implying that we regret being Christians. However, to do apologetics ironically means quite the opposite of “apologizing” for something.
The word comes from the Greek prefix “apo-”, which indicates a separation or a deflection of something, and the word “logos”, which is unsurprisingly where we get our term “logic.” So, the Greek word apologia paints a picture of something that is being deflected by way of logic. The most common definition of the word apologetics is “a reasoned defense.” (Think Jude 3.)
Side note: Imagine how the conversation would go next time you needed to apologize to someone, and you offered “a reasoned defense” of your actions.