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

“Can God Make a Mountain So Big He Can’t Lift It?”

MountainQuestions like “Can God make a mountain so big He can’t lift it” are sometimes used as an attempt to discredit the idea of an omnipotent God.  They attempt to show that the very idea of some all-powerful entity is logically contradictory and therefore, God doesn’t exist.  However, these questions misunderstand both the meaning of omnipotence and the nature of God. Continue reading

20 Groundbreaking Scientists with Belief in God

GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewton-1689

Sir Isaac Newton by Godfrey Kneller, 1689

You don’t have to search too hard on the internet to find people parroting the tired old refrain that religion—and in particular, Christianity—is responsible for all sorts of ills.  It’s blamed for everything from bigotry and closed-mindedness to war.

We’ll address the baseless claims above in future articles, but today we want to focus on another claim that gets quite a bit of play: Religion (especially Christianity) has historically stifled scientific advancement and if it weren’t for religion getting in the way, then we’d be out exploring the galaxy by now, cancer would be cured, and so on.

For anyone who’s studied the facts, the claim above displays a stunning ignorance of history, as well as an inability to think critically.  After all, it was the belief that God created an ordered universe operating according to natural laws that helped give birth to modern science in the West in the first place. Continue reading

NT Textual Variations and Why They’re Not a Big Deal

Matthew Fragment

Fragment of the Gospel According to Matthew (original autograph: ~60-70 A.D.); This is a copy dating to ~250 A.D. (Wikimedia Commons)

In a 2013 article entitled, Is the New Testament Text Reliable?, Greg Koukl tacked the old assertion that the New Testament has been copied and recopied so many times over the ages that today, we can’t even know what the original texts said.  To kick off that article, Koukl used a great example of how this meme continues to be perpetuated:

In the spring of 1989 syndicated talk show host Larry King interviewed Shirley MacLaine on the New Age. When a Christian caller contested her view with an appeal to the New Testament, MacLaine brushed him off with the objection that the Bible has been changed and translated so many times over the last 2000 years that it’s impossible to have any confidence in its accuracy. King was quick to endorse her “facts.” “Everyone knows that,” he grunted.

Continue reading

Who Wrote the Gospel of Mark?

St Mark and Peter

St. Mark Writes his Evangelium at the Dictation of St. Peter, Pasquale Ottino, 17th Century

The Christian church teaches that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are accurate historical accounts of the teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  According to the church, these documents were written by direct eyewitnesses to the events recorded, or by people who captured the first-hand testimony of eyewitnesses.

Some argue that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, but were instead compiled by anonymous editors several generations after the fact.  However, significant evidence favors the church’s point of view.  In this article, we explore the evidence for Mark’s gospel.

Who Was Mark and When Did He Write?

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Finally Burying the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

Jesus with his lovely wife?

Jesus with his lovely wife?

This article is about a topic that barely deserves to be addressed (but unfortunately needs to be):  The so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.  For years, some anti-Christian conspiracy theorists have pushed the idea that Jesus was married, that the canonical gospels tell a fabricated story, and that the “truth” can be found in various “lost” gospels (such as the Gnostic “gospels”).  Well, let’s explore the real truth. Continue reading