Archive for October, 2013

Biblical Skeptic

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Today, we are going to examine the biblical skeptic. The biblical skeptic frequently goes hand in hand with a scientific skeptic. The reason is that they cannot believe in anything outside of the natural, including a oook that is claimed to be supernatural. They criticize Christians for believing that the Bible is from God, saying that it is completely man-made. Look at what The Da Vinci code says about the Bible:

The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven…The Bible is the product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.

Now, there are many things in that statement that catches my attention. For instance is it very tempting to talk about how the Bible has not been altered over the years, pointing to the Dead Sea scrolls and the idea of translations vs. alterations.  However, that is not the root idea. The root idea is that they believe that the Bible is man-made, not from God. Perhaps you have seen the syllogism used to disprove that the Bible is supernatural.  It looks like this:

A. All men are fallible

B. The Bible was written by men

C. Therefore, the Bible is fallible

It is very reasonable to want evidence for why the Bible is the true word of God. Why should we believe that the Bible is God’s Word, because it says so? The Qur’an and the Book of Mormon also claim to be from God! It’s huge to ask someone to believe that one book is different from all others, having supernatural divine authority. Biblical skeptics think that this is an absurd thing to ask of anyone.

The million dollar question is: If God did happen to give us a book, how would we know it would be from Him? How do can we test a book to see if it is from God? There must be some standard on which we can test truth. Is there anything inside the pages of the Bible that would tell us it was from God?

The main idea is that God is omniscient and knows what is going to happen before it happens. If a book had specific, detailed statements about the future that came to pass 100% of the time, then we would know that the Bible is from God. Man cannot tell the future, but God can. Let’s look a couple of prophecies about were fulfilled by Jesus that are in the Bible.

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Psalm 22:14,16b-18 “Poured out like water, and all of by bones are out of joint… They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones, they stare at me, they divide my garments among them, and for my clothes they cast lots.”

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”

Daniel 9:54-56 “Seventy weeks [or a group of seven] are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.”

Daniel 9 predicts Christ coming 483 years to the day!

Clearly, we see that the Bible is truly inspired by God; for who else can tell the future? The Bible, unlike other so called “God inspired” books passes the test. So, when the Bible tells us we are filthy sinners in need of a savior and that Jesus came, lived a perfect life, took our punishment on the cross, we can trust in that.

Scientific Skeptic

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

The third skeptic we are going to discuss is the scientific skeptic. Out of all of the four kinds of skeptics that we have been looking at, the scientific skeptic is closest to a Christian worldview. There are two things that drive both worldviews: fact and faith. Clearly as Christians we have faith, however as I have said before, we are not supposed to have blind faith; fact must accompany our faith. We don’t have time to examine the evidence for the Christian worldview right now; we will save that for another day. Today we are going to focus on the scientific skeptic and the faith that they incorporate into their worldview. You may be thinking, wait scientists base truth on fact alone with no faith involved. They even criticize Christians for having faith, saying that we believe things on blind faith, whereas they believe things on pure scientific fact. At first glance, it may seem that way, however, if you look deeper you will find that this is not the case. In reality, the scientific skeptic incorporates a lot of faith into their worldview.

Let’s start by looking at the method that is the foundation of everything that a scientific skeptic believes, the scientific method. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the scientific method as “Principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.” The key part of the scientific method is that the hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable through an experiment that is repeatable. In simpler terms, it must be possible to prove the hypothesis false from observable data gathered from repeated experiments.

Even though this is their foundation, they don’t always stand on it. There are many things that scientist take as fact that have not been observed and tested. Let’s look at two:

1)      The beginning of the universe

2)      Macroevolution – the changing from one species or kind to another

Scientists have never been able to observe or test any of these so called “facts.” Scientists claim that nothing naturally became something in a big bang; this has never been observed or tested. Scientists criticize Christians for believing in miracles because they are events that go against natural physical law and cannot be repeated or observed. Sounds like the big bang fits the definition of a miracle! It’s a physical impossibility for nothing to just become something and it has certainly never been observed.  Macro-evolution has also never been observed or tested. Macro-evolution is where one species or kind evolves into another. By definition, macro-evolution is a process that happens over millions of years and, therefore, cannot be observed. Even looking at the fossil record, we see that there are huge gaps and no transitional fossils found.

In Ray Comfort’s new documentary “Evolution vs. God”, He interviewed four scientists. One included Associate Professor Gail E. Kennedy, PhD (Department of Anthropology, UCLA) who stated that the problem with people who don’t believe in evolution is that they “don’t have enough imagination.” She’s right we don’t have enough imagination to believe in macro-evolution. Now let me be clear macro-evolution cannot and has not been observed, however, micro-evolution has been observed and tested. The difference is that micro-evolution is variations and changes made within a species or kind. Macro-evolution takes it farther than the evidence shows claiming that over millions of years these variations bring about a change in kind or species, which must be believed by faith.

Clearly these three “facts” do not hold up to the scientific method and are believed by faith. Scientists that believe these “facts” believe them by faith, for he cannot see it with his eyes or prove it with scientific experiments. Scientific skeptics are hypocritical when they criticize Christians for having faith when they clearly have faith and arguably have more faith than a Christian does. The scientific skeptic worldview is inconsistent and collapses under their feet, leaving them standing upon faith. They have faith in the “experts” that they know what they are talking about. They have faith that an answer other than God is out there, even when they don’t have a reasonable answer for these questions.

The root idea of the scientific skeptic is that the natural world is all that there is. As Christians, we believe in science that has been tested and observed. When it comes to these though questions about how the universe started, questions that we have seen that science hasn’t been able to answer, we point to something outside of the natural world, God. Instead of placing our faith in science and the experts, we place our faith in Jesus. When talking with a scientific skeptic, it’s important to point out the questions they either cannot answer or the lack of evidence for their answers to such questions. Then point to God and the evidence we have for His existence. Moving on from there, we look at the evidence for  Jesus Christ being the one and only God.

The Moral Skeptic

Posted: October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

The next skeptic we are going to discuss is the moral skeptic. The moral skeptic dismisses Christianity because they claim it is immoral and wrong. In the God Delusion Richard Dawkins states: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” He is making some very strong accusations against God. You may say that Dawkins must be completely deranged for thinking these things about a perfect God.

Did Dawkins really get this picture of God from the Old Testament? Well yes, look at the Deuteronomy 20:17 “But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” There are many examples in the Bible where God commands the Israelites to kill whole groups of people. He even commands the killing of women and even children in 1 Samuel 15:3 “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” When faced with these accusations it is very tempting to try and explain all of these accusations away, which is no easy task. However, if we can identify them as a moral skeptic, we can ask one question that will that will get to the heart of the issue and show the weakness of the moral skeptic’s argument. That question is: What is your standard of right and wrong? In any way that the skeptic responds he is in a world of trouble. He has four different moves to make, four different responses to this question: 1. My standard is my own opinion, 2. My standard is my culture and my society, 3. My standard is that there is no right or wrong, 4. My standard is that of an absolute moral law every person has written on their hearts. Here’s how each response gets him in trouble:

1. “I make up my own standard of right and wrong and I think God is evil”

Response – Then can’t God do whatever He thinks is right based on His own opinion? or What if my standard of right and wrong says I can murder, am I justified in murdering your family?

2. “I determine what is right and wrong based on my culture and society”

Response – Then if what God did was ok with a particular culture and society would it be ok? or What about the culture that Hitler built in Germany? If you lived in that society, would you shoot Jewish babies as target practice?

3. “My standard is that there is no such thing as right or wrong!”

Response – Then how can you say God did anything good or bad?

4. “My standard is that everyone knows right and wrong based a law put on their hearts!”

Response – Who put it on their hearts, if not the individual or the society/culture? Wouldn’t that have to be an ultimate law giver, God?

You cannot even ask the question, “isn’t this wrong?” unless you believe in God. Unless you believe in an absolute standard (the moral law) that came from an absolutely moral Lawgiver, you can’t ask this question, as we have seen above. Only when you have an absolute standard of right and wrong can a person legitimately ask this question. If you would like to dig into this idea more, watch the first four minutes of this video, where Dr. William Lane Craig debates Lewis Wolpert. I encourage you all to watch the video by following this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ-aqnDHqqA . We can see that ultimately a moral skeptic can’t even make a statement about what’s right and wrong without believing in God. If they try to make these statements apart form believing in God, there worldview breaks down with contradictions. As William Lane Craig states multiple times in debates, “what we, as Christians, can offer is a worldview that explains where absolute moral values come from.”

Spiritual Skeptic

Posted: October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

For the next few weeks the evangablog will be studying different types of skeptics. The first one we are going to investigate is the spiritual skeptic. The spiritual skeptic dismisses the idea that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and presents a broader way, which is obtained through personal achievement and works. They believe that they can work hard enough to make it to heaven on their own, apart from the total grace of God, and they are skeptical of anyone that says otherwise, all the while sounding very religious, very spiritual, and in many cases even using the exact same terminology that you and I use, as is found in the Scriptures.

The question is how do we recognize a spiritual skeptic if they sound very spiritual and religious? Well, if you dig deeper through the spiritual terminology that they are using, you will realize they are defining words differently. For example, the word repent. Many will say that if you repent of your sin, God will forgive you and you will receive eternal life, well that sounds good. It even matches up with 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” However, they leave out the most important part of repentance, Jesus. Look at what John writes two verses before “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” God only forgives and erases sin through the blood of Christ. Defining key words like repent can be extremely important in digging up what they really believe. Don’t be afraid to ask people to clarify what they mean. Listen closely even though they may sound spiritual they will say that they believe good people make it to heaven or maybe give specific qualifications in order to get to heaven.
When talking to a spiritual skeptic, it is very easy to get distracted by other beliefs that they hold. Spiritual skeptics can be Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, et cetera, but we must stay focused on the root of their belief. Rather than arguing every single point with every other belief system, we need to properly identify that we are talking to a spiritual skeptic and then we can make things much easier for ourselves without having to be a scholar of every religion. The main thing is that all four look at Christianity through a spiritual skeptic’s lens and all four claim that one gets to heaven on good works.
The million dollar question is: How Good is Good Enough? It we are supposed to get to heaven based on if we are good enough, then how good is good enough? Can you ever really be sure of your salvation? Most skeptics will say you have to work as hard as you possibly can or try your best. However, our best is never good enough. We are still sinful. The good we do doesn’t erase the bad we have done, we are not perfect, and our best can never be enough. If God is perfect and His heaven is perfect, then His standard for admittance into heaven must be perfect. If God is the righteous, just judge, then He must and will punish sin.
This is where the skeptic worldview falls short. They can’t answer how imperfect people can make it to heaven, that is reserved for the righteous. However, we can! We have a perfect substitute, a holy sacrifice that takes our place for us when we stand before God. God knew that there was no way that we would make it to heaven on our own. So He came down, lived the life that we couldn’t and died the death we deserve. So that if place our faith in Jesus we would have eternal life. What a great God we serve.