The Problem of Evil

The “Problem of Evil” is one of the biggest philosophical challenges to a belief in God and is a major contributor to the rejection of Christianity.  In fact, well-known biblical scholar and critic Bart Ehrman credits the problem of evil with his own loss of faith.  We’ve addressed this topic in an earlier article, but a more comprehensive response is appropriate.  The problem can be simply stated as follows:

  1. If God is all-good, He would want to destroy evil
  2. If God is all-powerful, He could destroy evil
  3. Evil exists
  4. Therefore, an all-good, all-powerful God does not exist

The logic seems sound on the surface.  But can these really be our only options?  Clearly, the problem of evil presents believers with a dilemma.  Or does it? Continue reading

How Could God Become a Man?

Adoration of the Shepherds

Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

Christmas is the time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, who they believe is the Messiah (or savior, literally “anointed one”) predicted in the Old Testament.  According to Christian orthodoxy, Jesus is actually God incarnate.  The doctrine of God becoming human is very clear throughout both the Old and New Testaments (e.g. Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 7:14, John 1:1-3, John 1:14, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3, John 20:28).

Many non-Christians question how or if God could become a man.  They have many good questions related to this such as:  How is it possible for an infinite God to become a finite person?  How can God be two people at the same time?  Did He stop being God while He was a man?  Why would God do this in the first place?  As we approach Christmas, it is appropriate to reflect on these questions and “always be prepared to give an answer” to those who may ask why we believe what we do (1 Peter 3:15). Continue reading

Dawkins’ Delusions:  Part III

dawkins-ivHere, we continue with our four-part chapter-by-chapter response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion.  This is part 3.

Chapter 5 Summary

In chapter 5, Dawkins seeks to answer how “the anti-factual, counter-productive fantasies of religion” could have developed so universally among mankind from a Darwinian, evolutionary perspective.  After discussing a few theories, Dawkins leans toward the idea that religion did not evolve because it was beneficial, but rather as a by-product of some other characteristic that contributed to survival. Continue reading

Dawkins’ Delusions: Part II

dawkins-iiHere, we continue with our four-part chapter-by-chapter response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion.  This is part 2.

Chapter 3 Summary

The purpose of chapter 3 is to disprove the various arguments in favor of God’s existence.  Dawkins addresses Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs, the ontological argument, and various arguments from beauty, personal experience, scripture, and admired religious scientists, along with Pascal’s Wager, and Bayesian probabilities. Continue reading

Dawkins’ Delusions: Part I

Part 1:  Introduction

dawkins-iRichard Dawkins is perhaps the most well-known of a new generation of activist atheists that includes Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.  The God Delusion is his attempt to disprove the “God Hypothesis” and he hopes that “religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”1.

With over 3 million copies sold, The God Delusion is probably one of the most widely read and influential atheist manifestos available.  It’s definitely not a new book.  However, we felt compelled to address it because it has been so widely read and because its arguments, even though they are poorly constructed, continue to influence people. Continue reading

Who Wrote the Gospel According to Luke?

luke_evangelist

18th century icon of Luke (Wikimedia Commons)

The question, “Who wrote the gospels?” is an important one.  Church history and tradition—and many modern scholars—assert that the four gospels were written by eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection (Matthew and John) or by individuals with direct access to eyewitnesses (Mark and Luke).  If they are correct, then the gospels are eyewitness testimony, and the idea that they transmit accurate historical accounts is strengthened.

Many critics, however, dispute the traditional authorship of the gospels.  They cite a number of reasons for this, which we have been addressing through a series of articles on gospel authorship. Continue reading

“How can Jesus be the only way to salvation?”

one-way-signAs we covered in another article, it is popular today to believe that multiple religions offer equal access to God. Consequently, many people question whether Christianity can really be the only way to experience salvation. Christians are often thought of as narrow-minded or self-righteous for believing that their religion is the only “right one.”

Ultimately, “Is Jesus the only way to salvation?” is a very important question that Christians and non-Christians should ask. But how should we go about finding the right answer? Continue reading

Know Your Heresies

Arius

Arius, arguing for the heretical position that Jesus was created by (and is inferior to) God.

Many critics like to claim that the Christian faith we know today is not the earliest form of Christianity.  Instead, they say there were many competing versions of Christianity in the first century—often with wildly diverging beliefs about God, Jesus, and salvation—that were all vying for supremacy.  Over the centuries, the narrative goes, “orthodox” Christianity was the most aggressive form, suppressing all other forms and crowding them out.  Therefore, they conclude, the Christian faith we know today is invalid.  It just happened to be the “winner” among competing mythologies simply because its adherents were more aggressive, ruthless, and shrewd than those who followed other “Christianities.”

Three Points on Orthodoxy and Heresy

To put it simply, the narrative above is incorrect.  Those who propagate it display an ignorance of history, an unwillingness to accept evidence, or a combination of both.  When honestly assessing the history of Christianity, a few points become very clear: Continue reading

The God of the Gaps – “Hasn’t Science Shown that God is Not Necessary?” 

GapsOne of the most common objections to the existence of God is that it is simply unscientific.  A belief in God is just an ignorant relic of the past, when more primitive people invoked the names of various gods to explain the things they didn’t understand.

In other words, “God” was simply something people used to fill a gap in their knowledge.  But as we have learned more and become better educated, we have discovered natural causes to previously unknown phenomenon, leaving God fewer and fewer places to “hide.”  Consequently, even the few remaining gaps that remain can no longer serve as an argument in favor of God, since history proves that they will eventually be filled with natural explanations, even if they are currently unknown.  Therefore, we can finally lay this “god of the gaps” to rest. Continue reading