Apologetics

Forsaking Truth for Darwin’s Dogma

All this month we are featuring two resources that are revolutionary. One of them is actually called Revolutionary. It is the film, it is the DVD, and it is an absolute must-see. The star is the revolutionary himself, Michael Behe. He was somebody who did not want to start a revolution, but revolution came to him. He embraced it, and the revolution that he started is depicted in this film.

Think about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, for example. Many people are familiar with this case. The idea here is this: it is unthinkable to teach intelligent design in the public-school system. To do so would be to follow truth wherever it leads. That is thought to be anathema. One might think, “How absurd is that?” But, a judge watches Inherit the Wind, makes a ruling, as a result of cobbled-together statements from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), he does not even correct their mistakes in his cobbling together, and this judge becomes a folk hero with cult-like status. He even gets on the cover of Time magazine and written about in the New York Times. Why? Because we are no longer allowed to follow truth where it leads; rather, we are to walk lockstep together in the academy.

Do not confuse me with the facts. We have a dogma. That dogma may be illogical. It may fly in the face of the facts, but the dogma is the dogma — do not disturb me.

Well, Revolutionary upsets that whole house of cards. The film is available all this month along with the book entitled Darwin’s House of Cards written by Tom Bethell. He was the Washington editor for Harper’s; he was a contributing editor to Washington Monthly. If you ever read him, he is just fun to read. He is flat-out fun to read.

Let me say this: I think it is critical that people have this kind of information in their hands because the issue of origins is not an apologetic issue; it is the apologetic issue. How one views their origins will inevitably determine how they live their life. If you think you are a function of random chance, you arose from the primordial slime, you are going to live your life in a different way than if you know you are created in the image of God and therefore accountable to Him. This is an issue of transcendent importance.

Think about what “Darwin’s Bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) once boasted. He said that “in the evolutionary system of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural.” What did that do for us? Well, we had the sovereignty of self replacing the sovereignty of God. We now become autonomous. We decide what is true and what is untrue based on the size and scope of the latest lobby group.

Then we had the Sexual Revolution. I love the candor of those who are at the forefront of the Sexual Revolution, at least at the beginning. You get rid of God, and you can live according to your own sexual preferences. You can change human anthropology. You can have gender fluidity. I just saw an article the other day; you can now have females passing on the right of giving birth to males. We live in an upside-down world, but once we had the Sexual Revolution, this was the inevitable result when God is relegated to the faint, disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Everything becomes permissible.

Then, of course, we had survival of the fittest, which led to atrocities like eugenics. I often think that right now as I am speaking this state in which I reside, North Carolina, is paying reparations for eugenics. Eugenics postulated that the unfit were infecting the genepool with their unfit genes, and as a result of that evolution, was not progressing like it should. What is the solution? Well, we sterilize the unfit. Who decides who is unfit? Well, at that particular epic in time — this is in the shadow of the ghastly consequences of the Second World War and the death camps in Nazi Germany — who decides? Well, in America, we were deciding it was blacks, Jews, people with Down syndrome, and anyone who had a malady, because how can evolution progress with these unfit genes in the genepool? You say, “Well, this had to be pretty fringe.” No, it was not fringe. It was legislated in blue states from California to New York. It was propped up by prestigious universities: Stanford, Harvard, and the list goes on. It was funded by, think about this, the Rockefeller Foundation and many other foundations. Name brands in our culture. Hardly fringe.

This is the problem. This is precisely the problem when you cannot think critically. When you are not allowed to have discussion in the university setting, these kinds of atrocities become inevitable consequences. What do we do? Curse the darkness or light a lamp in the midst of the gathering storm? I say what we must do is light a lamp in the midst of the gathering storm. How do we do that? We equip people. We have to think about these things.

— Hank Hanegraaff

Blog adapted from the July 5, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Luck and Chance: Can they Account for the Origin of Life?

cri-blog-nelson-paul-origin-evidence-beliefHow does a guy like Richard Dawkins, who probably is the most famous scientific materialist on the planet today, how does he get away with saying such things as “the universe could so easily have remained lifeless, it’s an astonishing stroke of luck that we’re here”?

I think if you imagine the logic tree where at the top is a single cell, and Dawkins is well aware of the complexity of single cells. You work your way down that logic tree, and you end up at a bifurcation where one alternative is design and the other alternative is chance. For all kinds of reasons Dawkins does not want to turn off on that branch that goes to design. The only thing remaining to him is what he calls luck.

Years ago when I was working in England with Bill Dembski and Steve Meyer on intelligent design, we realized that ultimately anyone who wants to can leap into the arms of mother chance. She’s always there waiting with her irrational arms wide open. Frankly, I think in the mystery of faith and in the mystery of the human will, there are plenty of people, very bright people included, Richard Dawkins is no dummy, who will opt for chance when confronted with design. They will say, “Look, we just got lucky, and we’re here.” This is a case of not listening to reason, and in fact turning your back on her, turning your back on wisdom, and saying, “I’m going to choose luck, if the alternative is I have to acknowledge that there was a designer or creator of this universe.”

There is a great scene at the end of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, book number seven in The Chronicles of Narnia series. There is a circle of dwarves. They are sitting and arguing amongst themselves. Aslan is trying to persuade them to listen to him to keep going up into heaven. Finally, Aslan says to the children I cannot do it, their will, I cannot override their will and their will is so strong that they will not listen to me. It was a terrifying scene when I read it as a kid because I realized that even confronted with Aslan himself, the perversity of the human will can choose something like chance.

It is a puzzle to me because I want to say science ought to be open to all the possibilities no matter what the consequences. Luck is not an explanation. You cannot teach luck in a biology class. Write the word on the blackboard, the class is over.

In essence what you are saying Paul is this: It is not that you cannot believe, it is that many people simply will not believe. I’m reminded of Blaise Pascal who said that God dwells in enough obscurities that if you do not want to find Him you will not, and He dwells in enough light that if you want to find Him you will (Pensees, 7.430).

That’s right. For me one of the most sobering lessons in the New Testament is to look in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the Gospel of John at how the Pharisees responded to the miracles that they saw right in front of them. You could not ask for better sense data, better evidence that Jesus Himself healing people or casting out demons. But, between what they saw, their heart, and their mind, for the Pharisees, for many of whom there was a disconnect. They would say illogical things like he cast out demons by Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24). Right? Even the direct witness of one of God’s miracles in the person of Jesus healing someone was unable to persuade those Pharisees that this man was who He claimed to be.

I think there is a mystery to faith and there is a mystery on how we respond to evidence. I think scientific evidence is very powerful. It is very compelling. Ultimately, the nature of the human will enter in. I will tell you, after three decades of working in this field, my devotional life matters a lot more to me, because much of the relevant action persuading somebody occurs where we cannot see it. Out of sight in their heart. I love giving people evidence but ultimately I realize there is a lot more to it than just evidence.

—Paul Nelson

“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20, NIV)

Learn more on the evidence supporting intelligent design in Origin: Design, Chance, and the First Life on Earth by Illustra Media.

This blog adapted from the November 7, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Answering Accusations about Genocidal Gods

cri-blog-copan-paul-god-and-genocideThere are atheist philosophers, who say they love to believe in a God, but they cannot abide the God of Christianity, and so often they see no difference between the God of Christianity and the Allah of Islam. Talk about the distinction between the two.

With regard to the Old Testament, we see that war is geographically limited to the land that God had promised to Abraham, whereas within Islam there is no such geographic limitation. Anything that is outside of the world of Islam is considered the abode of war; therefore, justifiably take-able to be put under the rule of Islam.

There is also something that is in God’s plan for bringing judgment upon the Canaanites. Of course, it is a twofold thing, to drive out the Canaanites and those who remain behind leave themselves vulnerable to attack. It is primarily driving them out (Exod. 23:27-31; Deut. 7:20-24; Josh. 24:12-13).  Then you have a certain time limit here, this is part of God’s unfolding purposes giving the land that is inhabited by the Canaanites to the people of Israel but not until the Canaanites have reached the sufficient low point in their wickedness and then can judgment fall (Gen. 15:12-16). There is a historical length or time limit here that is involved, whereas in Islamic jihad there is no historical or temporal limitation.

We also see that in the history of Islam the oppression and war is indiscriminate. Islam attacks Christianized lands and overruns them, whereas with the Canaanites they were a wicked people basically engaged in activities such as infant sacrifice, bestiality, and so forth, acts that would be considered criminal in any civilized society. I can go down the list and talk about a lot of other differences but that is just a sampling of some of these sorts of differences that exists between the Old Testament and Islam.

People so often want to make a distinction between the God of the Old Testament who is a God of violence and cruelty, and the God of the New Testament who is often perceived to be a God of love. What is wrong with reading the Bible or thinking about God in that way?

What we see in the Old Testament is God showing both kindness as well as severity. Paul says this in Romans 11:22, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God” (NASB). Both of those continue through the testaments, but you see in the New Testament both the love of God intensified and the judgment of God intensified.

Yes, even from the lips of Jesus He talks about these things. Jesus does not shrink from identifying with the God of the Old Testament. He talks about capital punishment being exerted in the Old Testament (Matt. 15:4). He talks about judgment being poured out through the Flood (Matt. 24:38-39), or on Tyre and Sidon, warning His contemporaries in Bethsaida and Chorazin that if these signs have been performed to you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented and sackcloth and ashes, and warns them about the judgment that is to come (Matt. 11:21-24); namely, the destruction that falls through the Roman Empire in AD 70. You see Jesus’ language very full of this.

You see Stephen (Acts 7) as well as Paul (Acts 13) both affirming the driving out the Canaanites. We see in Hebrews 11 that God uses warfare to bring judgment and so forth. We see even in Hebrews 2 that if punishments were meted out in the Old Testament, everyone received a just compensation for his deeds, how much greater will the judgment be if we neglect so great a salvation.

I think it is just a total misreading to talk about a wrathful God of the Old Testament and of a loving Heavenly Father of the New Testament. This is just the heresy of Marcion (circa AD 100-165), who talked about two different Gods, one mean and nasty and the other kind and loving. No. The New Testament affirms and identifies with the God of the Old Testament.

—Paul Copan

Paul Copan (PhD, Marquette University is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He has authored and edited thirty scholarly and popular books, including Is God a Moral Monster?

For further related study, please consult the books: Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to Terms with the Justice of God by Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan, and Is God a Moral Monster? by Paul Copan.

This blog adapted from the June 29, 2015 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics, Journal Topics

Why Science Can’t Explain Morality

Copan, Paul-Naturalism Ground Genine Moral

Review: JAS275 | By Paul Copan

This review first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 29, number 6 (2006). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, is a best‐selling author whose books include Why People Believe Weird Things and How We Believe. The Science of Good and Evil (Henry Holt and Company, 2004) is yet another engagingly written book by this former “born‐again Christian” and “born‐again atheist” who currently holds the view of “agnostic nontheist” (p. 3). He believes that, “by the criteria of science and reason,” God is an “unknowable concept” (4). After all, we cannot “prove or disprove God’s existence,” says Shermer, although he is open to some proof of the divine materializing in the future (p. 5).

Shermer distinguishes between morality, which “involves issues of right and wrong thought and behavior,” and ethics, which “involves the study of right and wrong thought and behavior” (7). The first half of his book covers “The Origin of Morality,” and the second half covers “A Science of Provisional Ethics.” Shermer believes that religion evolved as a social structure to reinforce rules regarding altruism and cooperation. Instead of accepting supernaturalism, Shermer opts for an evolutionary basis for connecting God, religion, and morality. He thus approaches evolutionary ethics (a subdivision of evolutionary psychology) in a “scientific” manner, drawing on anthropology, sociology, social psychology, and evolutionary biology.

Taking the position of a “transcendent empiricist” (19), Shermer claims that he can (a) “leave God out of the ethical discussion altogether” and, in order to avoid pure relativism or culturally determined ethics, (b) “adopt the methodological naturalism of science” (17). Morality, he claims, exists “outside of us”; it is a universal human trait (18). The impersonal force of evolution created our moral sentiments and behaviors, even though we may fine‐tune and tweak them according to our cultural preferences and historical circumstances (18–19). The existence of morality, according to Shermer, is not the result of religious influence, although religion creates social institutions that canonize and reinforce moral principles. Evolution generates moral sentiments, and culture (including religion) helps codify these principles into societal rules.

Shermer argues that moral rules are not absolute (i.e., they do not apply to all people in all cultures under all circumstances all of the time), but that they are not relative either. They are provisionally true (i.e., they apply to “most people in most cultures in most circumstances most of the time” (20–21) and operate according to various provisional moral principles (which I will discuss below).

Shermer preserves a place for human freedom and moral responsibility despite evolution (19–22), and appeals to scientific evidence to bolster his claims. He explores such issues as the myth of the noble savage in light of warfare and hostility as well as ecocide among primitive civilizations (ch. 3).

The following will summarize some of Shermer’s key points. More important, it will address some of the most philosophically and apologetically significant problems in his work.

The Problem of Moving from Is to Ought. Shermer holds that somehow we are morally obligated to act according to drives that have been genetically passed down to us, which create certain moral feelings within us and are reinforced by group pressure (56–57). To ask “Why should we be moral?” is like asking “Why should we be hungry or horny?” Shermer insists that “the answer is that it is as much a part of human nature to be moral as it is to be hungry, horny, jealous, and in love” (57). If so, then all Shermer can do is describe how human beings actually function, but he can’t prescribe how humans ought to behave. There’s no difference between whether I ought to be moral and whether I ought to be hungry since both are functions of evolutionary hard‐wiring. These states just are. Naturalism ultimately can give us a description of human behavior and psychology, but it can’t ground genuine moral obligation. Moral obligations in a world of naturalistic scientific descriptions are odd indeed. They fit quite nicely into a theistic world, however.

Furthermore, Shermer’s belief that human persons are self‐aware, reasoning, morally responsible agents who possess free will and human rights actually is better explained against the backdrop of a supremely self‐aware, rational, good, free, personal Being (who made us in His image) than that of a nonconscious, nonrational, valueless, deterministic series of material causes and effects.

The Problem of Knowing vs. Being. Shermer asserts throughout his book that “morality need not be the exclusive domain of religion” (64). Shermer approvingly cites biographer Jared Diamond, who says, in light of three decades of research in New Guinea, that he has “never heard any invocation of a god or spirit to justify how people should behave toward others” (36). Shermer devotes chapter 5 to the question, “Can We Be Good without God?” He claims that most believers think people cannot lead moral lives “without recourse to a transcendent being” or construct ethical systems “without religion” (149), but that, regardless of a person’s religious views (or lack thereof), “certain moral principles hold” (156).

One section reveals Shermer’s confusion here. He asks, “What would you do if there were no God?” (154); would you rape or murder or rob? Without God, however, this is a meaningless question, for there would be no rights‐bearing, intrinsically valuable, morally responsible humans. How could blind, valueless processes produce such beings? Shermer wrongly thinks he can rest content in knowing moral truths concerning human rights and obligations (i.e., in the realm of epistemology) and yet ignore the basis for those truths (i.e., the realm of metaphysics). Theism, on the other hand, acknowledges that metaphysical basis, which gracefully transfers from a supremely valuable Creator to His valuable human creatures who have dignity and rights. Thoughtful theists agree that people can know and live by objective moral values even if they do not believe in God or have the Bible. This is so because theists and nontheists alike are made in God’s image.

The Problem of Freedom and Responsibility vs. Determinism. In chapter 4, Shermer points out that there are varying degrees of guilt; morality is not black‐and‐white. He devotes a good deal of space to John Hinckley, who, in order to get the attention of film star Jodie Foster (his obsession) tried to assassinate former president Ronald Reagan. Hinckley’s actions involved a combination of free will alongside factors that were beyond his control—namely, severe mental disorders.

If we are the products of evolutionary forces, then, how did moral freedom and responsibility emerge? Shermer claims that sometime during the Paleolithic period, humans shifted from being under “mostly biological control to mostly cultural control” (47). He observes that “it is obvious that there are necessitating forces at work in history,” and “it is equally obvious that contingencies push and direct historical sequences” (136). Shermer matter‐of‐factly asserts, “We can make a difference. Our actions matter” (137). He believes that the contingencies and necessities of atoms moving about in space suggest a “helpful analogy” (136) for deterministic evolutionary forces and free human actions as they shape the course of morality.

The more pressing matter, however, given the radically different natures of mindless atoms and human agents (which make for a very unhelpful analogy) and given our supposed materialistic, deterministic origins, is how free will or moral freedom emerged. How did thinking, conscious beings emerge from mindless, nonconscious processes?

Naturalists such as Jaegwon Kim, Colin McGinn, and Ned Block admit that they are baffled that consciousness exists at all. Beyond this, many naturalists simply deny free will precisely because science has no place for personal agency. New York University philosopher Thomas Nagel believes there is “no room for agency in a world of neural impulses, chemical reactions, and bone and muscle movements”; naturalism strongly suggests that we are “helpless” and “not responsible” for our actions.1 Atheist John Searle admits that we have intuitions of free will, but says free will itself does not exist, since it interferes with the “scientific” idea of “the causal order of nature.”2

Shermer, therefore, cannot simply assert that free will is possible because of contingency and necessity in nature, because the metaphysical context of his view suggests otherwise. Theism, on the other hand, which posits that we have been created by a free, personal Being, offers an excellent context for affirming free will and moral responsibility.

The Problem of Absolute vs. Provisional Morality. Shermer defines “absolute” morality as an inflexible set of rules for right and wrong thought and behavior derived from a social group’s canon of ethics (158), which he believes leads to people establishing themselves as the final arbiters of truth and morality. (Shermer offers many negative examples of popular religious extremism, but he ignores the more nuanced, thoughtful, and reflective voices within the Christian community.) “Relative” morality is a set of moral rules that is defined by a social group and is dependent on situation and culture (161). Shermer advocates a “provisional” morality or ethic (which he believes is analogous to scientific facts), to which we can offer “provisional assent” and aim to do the best we can (167), since “absolute morality” cannot be lived out in the real world. There are, nonetheless, “absolute” morals: it always is wrong to torture babies for fun, to abuse children, and to rape. I doubt that Shermer really thinks that these are provisional.

In chapter 7, Shermer elaborates on four principles or higher moral values of provisional morality: (1) The ask‐first principle: to find out if an action is right or wrong, ask first (e.g., asking your spouse if it is okay to commit adultery likely will elicit a firm negative response). (2) The happiness principle: seek happiness with others in mind, never pursuing happiness for yourself when it leads to unhappiness for another. (3) The liberty principle: seek liberty with others in mind, never pursuing liberty for yourself when it leads to loss of liberty for another. (4) The moderation principle: avoid extremism and promote moderation.

The Problem of Misunderstanding Theistic Ethics. Shermer points out the difficulties in biblical ethics, particularly in the Old Testament (e.g., 36–40, 182–85), but he does not appear to appreciate the nuances and historical/ theological contexts that bear on reasonable solutions to these difficulties (see the writings of Christopher Wright, Gordon Wenham, and Walter Kaiser for such solutions). Shermer believes, for example, that not all killing (murder, manslaughter, slaying in self‐defense) is the same, but fails to realize that believers can agree with him in this.

He also considers it morally permissible to deceive Nazi soldiers in order to protect innocent Jews, but does not seem to understand that Christians find this permissible as well. Scripture permits deception under certain conditions; for example, in warfare (e.g., 2 Chron. 20:22, where God Himself sets ambushes) and when there is criminal activity or innocent life is endangered, such as when the God‐fearing Hebrew midwives deceived Pharaoh (Exod. 1) or when Rahab hid the spies and deceived the authorities (Josh. 2) or when God Himself gave Samuel a deceptive excuse against the capricious Saul (1 Sam. 16:1–2). Most Christians, as well, have no problem turning on houselights at night when they go out for dinner!

Theistic ethicists, moreover, often allude to the existence of prima facie duties; that is, they believe that certain moral obligations self‐evidently supersede other moral obligations, and that one should fulfill lesser moral duties (e.g., never to deceive) as long as they do not conflict with greater moral duties (e.g., to save innocent life). In instances where one must choose, say, between deception and saving a life, then deception is permissible. Another area Shermer discusses is abortion. Here, again, he dislikes the either/or, binary thinking of the absolutists. He says the matter of “when a fetus becomes a human” is “difficult to resolve” (203). Science is very straightforward on this matter, however; the fetus is always human. Shermer makes the mistake of assuming that human functions (e.g., brain activity, thinking, and self‐awareness) are more fundamental than human nature. Humans, however, do not lose their value when they are asleep or unconscious. Our functions do not make us what we are; our nature does.

Shermer further supports the preferences of women over those of the unborn, because women can voice their preferences; the unborn cannot (207). He ironically points out that when it comes to rights of animals, even though chimps cannot speak, we can observe their nonverbal communication when they are placed in cages —“they are none too pleased about such arrangements” (221). Ultrasounds of unborn infants being aborted, however, reveal their fierce resistance to invading lethal instruments; these voiceless humans—I write this with deep sadness—“are none too pleased” about their pain. Finally, why should Shermer pit mother against unborn and support only the former? If the unborn are human, he should support them as well. Is it not a mark of virtue to care for all those who cannot care for themselves?

Shermer goes on to fault Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., for their “morally ineffective, even dangerous” turn‐the‐other‐cheek ethic because they paid for their beliefs with their lives (the “sucker’s payoff”): “Turning the other cheek only works if the opposition is inherently benevolent or has chosen a purely cooperative game strategy” (59). Of course, a slap on the cheek in Matthew 5:38‐42 is more of an insult than an act of violence, as Lamentations 3:30 suggests. Some Christians may interpret this passage differently, but one can make a good case that self‐defense or stopping an evil aggressor in a just war situation (e.g., against Hitler) isn’t in view here. Indeed, the passage “do not resist the evil one” in Matthew 5 is better translated “do not resist by evil means,” which is precisely the point of other biblical passages harking back to the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Rom. 12:17–21; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 2:21–24). Christian peacemakers are to return good for evil; we aren’t vengefully to use evil means, but good means to overcome evil. We are to resist the devil (James 4:7), and Jesus himself everywhere resists evil— even when He, though innocent, is physically struck in a law court (John 18:22‐23)!

Shermer’s dismissive comments reveal a naturalistic ethic that cannot truly “rise above” (the title of chapter 8) to reach the level Christ modeled of loving and doing good to one’s enemies, of going beyond the call of duty, or of laying down one’s life for another. These are out of step with self‐preservation and self‐interest (or group‐interest).

The Problem of Inadequacy. Other problems and oversights pepper Shermer’s book. For example, he presents the logical problem of evil (i.e., the alleged contradiction between the existence of evil and the existence of an all‐powerful and all‐good God) as if he is unaware of existing philosophical discussion (66). Though evil is a challenge for any worldview, the logical problem of evil is passé in philosophical circles (especially if God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil). Atheist William Rowe observes: “Some philosophers have contended that the existence of evil is logically inconsistent with the existence of the theistic God. No one, I think, has succeeded in establishing such an extravagant claim.”3

Shermer correctly points out (in ch. 3) the error in considering certain persons “pure evil” and others “good,”4 because people with no history of deep evils, in certain circumstances, can end up committing horrendous acts. Shermer recognizes the potential depths of human depravity that Scripture affirms. On the other hand, Shermer’s explanation for evil falls short. Philosopher Gordon Graham observes that naturalistic concepts (i.e., those of “statistical abnormalities” or “deviations”) cannot describe profound, horrendous evils adequately.5

Despite Shermer’s sometimes helpful insights and perspectives, his naturalism leaves us looking for something more. That something is the Christian theism that he once embraced, but that he also, it seems, misunderstood.

Paul Copan (PhD) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He is author and editor of various books, including (with William Lane Craig) Creation Out of Nothing (Baker/Apollos, 2004), The Rationality of Theism (Routledge, 2003), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of religion (Routledge, forthcoming), and Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues (Blackwell, forthcoming).


NOTES

  1. Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 111, 113.
  2. John R. Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science (1984; repr., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), 87–88, 92.
  3. William L. Rowe, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (October 1979): 41n.
  4. Augustine pointed out that evil is not a substance, but the absence or corruption of goodness in God’s creation.
  5. Gordon Graham, Evil and Christian Ethics (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
Apologetics, Journal Topics

Sam Harris’s Armory For Secularists Against A Christian Nation

Article: JAH222 | By: Douglas Groothuis

Harris, Sam-LetterChristainNation2


This review first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 30, number 2 (2007). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org


National Public Radio recently aired a program to discuss Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation. To frame the discussion, the host asked, “Since religion is based on faith and not reason, should it have a say in public policy?” The question the host posed committed the fallacy of “the complex question,” whereby one assumes what needs to be proved, and then asks a question based on that assumption.

Harris claims that religious faith cannot be based on reason; therefore, if we want a rational public policy, religion should be excluded. Harris writes, “The primary purpose of this book is to arm secularists in our society, who believe that religion should be kept out of public policy, against their opponents on the Christian Right” (p. viii). If solid reasons can be given for Christianity, however, everything changes.

Sam Harris experienced a meteoric rise to fame with the release of his first book, The End of Faith, a strident attack on all traditional religion as irrational, backward, and dangerous. The book surprisingly became a bestseller. Harris was stirred to write such a book after the terrorist apocalypse of 9/11. The answer to the persistent hazards of religion globally, according to Harris, is thorough‐going secularism. Letter to a Christian Nation was written as an addendum to The End of Faith in light of the many responses Harris received to his first work. He summarizes the ideas of his earlier book and sticks the knife in once again: religion is a harmful (not harmless) delusion. It must be abandoned, not tolerated. In just 96 pages, he sets out “to demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity in its most committed forms” (ix).

Harris’s polemical efforts have been supplemented by other works written in the same spirit: religion must be rejected root and branch for the betterment of humanity. The God Delusion by scientist and long‐ time militant atheist Richard Dawkins, and Breaking the Spell by a similarly inclined philosopher, Daniel Dennett, have contributed to what has been called “the new atheism” by Wired magazine. Their arguments against religion are not new, but the rhetorical tone of the attacks surpasses what is common for unbelievers. The gloves are off.

Harris’s attack in Letter to a Christian Nation focuses on three main areas: (1) How Christians (and other religious people) believe, (2) what they believe, and (3) the ethical implications of what they believe. As in The End of Faith, Harris asserts that to “have faith” means that no reasonable warrant can be offered for that faith; there are only ad hoc or unsatisfying reasons, which are really window dressing for pure fideism (faith without or even against reason). It is sadly and shamefully true that many Christians hold their beliefs in this manner; however, Harris errs by painting with such a broad brush.

“Irrational Belief.” Throughout the history of Christianity, top‐notch thinkers have engaged unbelievers rationally. This begins in the New Testament itself when Jesus challenges His followers to love God with all their minds (Matt. 22:37–40), and when the apostle Peter commands Christians to be ready to have an apologetic for what they believe (1 Pet. 3:15). We find this in the rational strategies of Jesus1 and Paul, for example. Paul held his own with the Athenian philosophers of the day and became a model for philosophical engagement with learned unbelievers (Acts 17:16–34).2 Harris makes no mention of these aspects of Christianity, nor does he even allude to the rich history of Christian engagement with philosophy, an engagement that has often resulted in apologetic efforts.3 Christians stand on only their irrational faith, argues Harris, with no incentive to defend it rationally and without apologetic models. These unfair and misleading omissions make for a distorted presentation.

The resurgence of Christians in professional philosophy (led by Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga) in recent years even prompted atheist philosopher Quentin Smith to lament that beliefs of many atheists were in rational jeopardy.4 Harris, however, mentions none of this, omitting references to high‐level philosophical defenses of Christianity (such as those of Plantinga, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, and Richard Swinburne), as well as more popular but intellectually serious efforts, such as those by Lee Strobel.5 He commits the straw‐man fallacy by presenting caricatures of theistic arguments, then rejecting the caricatures, as when he gives a fallacious version of the cosmological argument and rejects Intelligent Design arguments with little more than a wave of the hand (71–75).

Harris, like Dawkins, thinks that the question, “Who created God?” puts an abrupt end to theistic arguments, since this would mean an infinite regress of explanation (73). A designing mind would have to be as complex as the creation itself, so the creation is never explained. Cosmological and design arguments, however, rest on the existence of finite and contingent states of being. They argue that the universe does not explain itself—either in terms of its origin or its form—and therefore, the best explanation is something outside of the finite and contingent universe: God. God, unlike the universe, is not a collection of finite and contingent states that require explanation. God is understood to be nonfinite and noncontingent. God’s character as designer and creator, therefore, does not demand explanation, as does the universe and its form. God is self‐explanatory and explains everything else rationally.6

Before turning to Harris’s attacks on what Christians believe, readers should note that Harris often refers to the religious beliefs of Muslims, which he takes to be irrational and dangerous, despite the fact that the book is addressed to Christians. “Consider: Every devout Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian” (6). These reasons, for Harris, are mere appeals to religious authority: the Qur’an or the Bible. This is part of Harris’s scorched earth policy on religion: since it is all irrational, an attack on any religion is an attack on every religion. This commits two logical fallacies, however. First, it begs the question concerning the irrationality of every religion. Some religions may be constitutionally irrational (such as Islam), while other religions may not be. Second, it employs guilt by association. Muslims who believe in God and think they are doing God’s will (by engaging in terrorism) are considered to be in the same camp with North American Christians who believe in God and think they are doing God’s will.

An equivalence of this type could only be sustained if both parties appealed to religious authority utterly without rational warrant. Many Christian thinkers have taken Islam as a whole and Islamic terrorism to task along just these lines, arguing that the Qur’an denies well‐established history (that Jesus was crucified), that it misrepresents the Trinity (as God, Jesus, and Mary), and that Islam has perpetuated itself far more through the sword than by the word.7 Muslims often make a bare appeal to the authority of the Qur’an (apart from corroborating evidence), but Christians can argue that the claims of the Christian worldview are internally consistent, fit the facts of history, and give objective meaning to life, death, and eternity.

The Qur’an was supposedly revealed through an angel to one man (Muhammad) who memorized it and recited it to others who wrote it down. This book contradicts key claims of the New Testament about Jesus and His message. By contrast, the books of the New Testament were written by several eyewitnesses or those who consulted eyewitnesses, and were written shortly after the events described. Many historical references made in the New Testament (particularly in the Gospels and Acts), moreover, have been verified by extrabiblical sources, either from historians or from archaeology.8 The Qur’an, which was received in the early seventh century, can claim no such historical credentials. Blind leaps of faith are required for Muslims, but not for the thinking Christian.

One would never know, according to Harris’s story, that Christians have analyzed Islam rationally, by standards that they also apply to the rationality of their own worldview. How could the blind critique the blind? Harris taunts the Christian reader, “Why don’t you lose sleep over whether to convert to Islam?” (6). The answer for the informed Christian is this: “Because Islam is supported by neither history nor logic. Its threats are, therefore, null and void. Christian faith, on the contrary, is well established historically and logically.”

“Offensive” Beliefs. To his credit, Harris realizes that the prudential stakes are high with respect to what Christians believe. “The Bible is either the Word of God or it isn’t. Either Jesus offers humanity the one, true path to salvation (John 14:16), or he does not. We agree that to be a true Christian is to believe that all other faiths are mistaken, and profoundly so. If Christianity is correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer the torments of hell” (3–4). He also rightly chastises theological liberals for muddying the waters with references to “mystery” where the Bible is clear. What Harris takes to be clear concerning “the wisdom of the Bible,” however, he profoundly misunderstands.

Harris tries to discredit the Bible morally by appealing to passages in the Old Testament stipulating capital punishment for crimes outside of homicide, laws about slavery, and holy wars that God commanded. He likewise deems the New Testament barbaric, since Jesus endorsed the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17–20) and taught the doctrine of hell. He also claims that the first four of the Ten Commandments have nothing to do with morality, and that whatever is truly good can be known through common sense.

Of course, Christians (and Jews) have written at length about the ways in which the Bible sometimes offends our moral sensibilities.9 The short answer is this: when viewed as a whole, the moral principles (pertaining to commands) of the Bible can be divided into three basic categories: the ceremonial law, the civil law, and the moral law. (Harris does not address the ceremonial law, but its relation to the New Covenant is spelled out in the Book of Hebrews.) Crimes punished severely during the days of the Old Testament—elements of the civil law—were part of God’s special administration of His Kingdom in a theocracy where people were held to strict standards in light of the clarity of the revelation they received. The movement of God’s Kingdom, however, is away from a theocracy toward the dispersion of the Kingdom of God to all nations, in which God’s people act as salt and light (Matt. 5:13–16). Jesus endorsed the divine authority of the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17–20; John 10:35, etc.), but His life and teaching demonstrated that He was bringing into reality a new chapter in the unfolding of God’s Kingdom, not reinstating a theocracy. The Mosaic Law, then—given under unique conditions by God Himself— contained numerous penalties that we may chafe at, but this does not entail either that: (1) God did not stipulate them, or (2) they should be applied in any literal manner today. Christian thinkers have approached the Old Testament in a variety of ways with respect to ethics, but almost no one has advocated a wholesale adoption of Mosaic Law for today.10

The situation is similar with respect to divinely sanctioned wars in the Old Testament. The covenant Lord of Israel used His people to bring judgment on incorrigibly corrupt cultures. There is no indication in the rest of Scripture, however, that such a situation would ever occur outside of ancient Israel, since God no longer works in this manner.11 Christians today may abide by the deep moral principles of the Ten Commandments in light of the further revelation given through Jesus and His apostles, without fear of being led into executing rebellious children or declaring holy war on individuals or nations, Sam Harris to the contrary.

Harris, of course, believes that the first four commandments traditionally understood to relate to God are morally irrelevant, since he is an atheist. If the biblical God exists, however, these commands form the foundation for all that follows, since God is the Lawgiver of the universe. Jesus understood this when He was asked what was the greatest commandment. He answered: first to love God with all our being, then to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:37–40).

To address the doctrine of hell adequately would require far more space than is allotted here. Suffice it to say here that the truth of this doctrine is based primarily on the authority of Jesus, His moral character, and His supernatural status. If the authority of Jesus can be supported historically and logically, His teachings—even difficult ones—should be accepted. The Christian worldview, given its views of God’s holiness and human sin, also makes sense of hell.12

“Harmful” Beliefs. Harris further inveighs against Christianity by assailing the moral beliefs of Christians. Harris makes few distinctions and emits more invectives than arguments. He assumes from the start that religious beliefs have no rational foundation, and that any moral claims based on religious convictions therefore must be irrational. He dismisses opposition to stem‐cell research as blind prejudice and overstates the promise of creating embryos for the purpose of research (which means their destruction).13 He also cites extreme statements against all forms of contraception (even to prevent the spread of AIDS) as more evidence of religious irrationality, when many Christians would not oppose this. (There is a categorical moral difference between abortion and contraception, one that most evangelicals acknowledge.)

I could go on about Harris’s straw‐man presentations and logical fallacies. The upshot of this small book is that it is thin in actual arguments. It is a literary hand grenade thrown into the enemy’s camp, which turns out to be a dud.

— reviewed by Douglas Groothuis


NOTES

  1. See Douglas Groothuis, “Jesus as a Philosopher and Apologist,” Christian Research Journal, 25, 2 (2002): 28ff (http://www.equip.org/article/jesus-philosopher-and-apologist/).
  2. See Douglas Groothuis, “Learning from an Apostle: Christianity in The Marketplace of Ideas (Acts 17:16–34),” Lecture Hall, TrueU.org, Focus on the Family, http:// www.trueu.org/Academics/LectureHall/A000000459.cfm.
  3. For a historical overview of Christian apologetics, see Avery Dulles, A History of Apologetics, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Ignatius Press, 2005).
  4. Quentin Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism,” Philo 4, 2: Philo Online, http://www.philoonline.org/library/smith_4_2.htm.
  5. See Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998); The Case for Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000); The Case for a Creator (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004).
  6. Some Christians also have argued that God’s existence is absolutely simple, lacking in parts. If so, the complexity issue would not arise at all concerning God’s existence.
  7. For example, see Abdul Saleeb and Norman Geisler, Answering Islam, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002). Against the idea that Christians and Muslim worship the same God, see Douglas Groothuis, “Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?” Lecture Hall, TrueU.org, Focus on the Family, http:// www.trueu.org/Academics/LectureHall/A000000113.cfm.
  8. For an overview of these arguments, see Douglas Groothuis, Jesus in an Age of Controversy (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), chaps. 2–3.
  9. On issues related to the Old Testament, see Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1982).
  10. The one exception today would be the Reconstructionist or Theonomy movement, originated by R. J. Rushdoony and defended most ardently by Greg Bahnsen. Only a very small percentage of Christians today endorse this agenda.
  11. For contrasting views on the meaning of holy war in the Old Testament and the rest of the Bible, see Stanley Gundry, ed., Show Them No Mercy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003).
  12. Concerning Jesus’ teaching about hell, see Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus (Wadsworth, 2003), 47–49; on His authority, see Ibid., chap. 8. On the logic of hell from a biblical worldview, see Douglas Groothuis, “What about Hell?” Christian Research Journal, 19,3 (1997): 8ff (http://www.equip.org/articles/the-doctrine-of-hell/).
  13. For a philosophical defense of humans as deserving of respect as embodied souls from the time of conception, see J. P. Moreland and Scott Rae, Body and Soul (InterVarsity Press, 2000).

 

Apologetics

Father Themi’s Damascus Road Experience: From Neo-Marxism to Hinduism to Christ

Father Themi-I Needed The Metaphysical

Father Themistoclese Athony Adamopoulo, “Father Themi,” is a Greek Orthodox priest. He was born in Egypt, grew up in Australia, but was looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. At one point he was a neo-Marxist, at another stage a rock star, (founding member of the 1960s Australian rock-n-roll band The Flies), on another level an academic with a PhD from Brown University and a Master of Theology from Princeton Divinity School, but then he had a radical encounter with God. He had a Damascus road experience, and as a result of that he has given up everything to serve the poor.

Hank Hanegraaff invited Father Themi to be a guest on the March 14, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast. The following are some highlights of their conversation.

Hank Hanegraaff: Today over twenty thousand people die of hunger each and every day. Half the world’s population lives on under $2 a day. This is an issue that we need to be conversant with because we are called to give the cup of cold water, the piece of bread, in the name of Jesus Christ so that we can bring the life of Jesus Christ to the poor and the downtrodden. Father Themi has moved to Sierra Leone, one of the poorest places on earth and there he is making a difference for time and for eternity. I am delighted Father Themi to have you on the broadcast today.

Father Themi Adamopulo: Hello, I’m absolutely honored to be here and to be with you. I heard so much about you. It’s an absolute honor to be with you. Thank you for your very kind invitation.

Hank: Again, delighted to have you on the broadcast. Talk a little bit about your background. You were born in Northern Africa, in Egypt, and born into a Greek Orthodox family?

Father Themi: Well, nominally, I was Orthodox Christian, baptized in Alexandria, which is one of the historical—those who know in church history will understand what I mean when I say that it is one of the great early Christian centers. But it meant nothing to me. I was not a believer. Most of my infancy and early childhood and moving onto my teenage years, having moved over to Australia, a secular society, I had no faith at all. I did not believe in God. In fact, during my university days, I was a convinced neo-Marxist, as opposed to classical Marxism, and Neo-Marxism being the assimilation and the fusion between classical Marxism, Freudianism, Marcusenism, and all kinds of isms to make classical Marxism more applicable to today’s historical events, such as the Chinese Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and so forth. So, I believed in that in my university student days. We looked upon Marxism as the solution to the great injustices that were going on at the time—the issue of poverty, the issue of get now more, the issue of women’s rights, even the environment—all these issues were there, and it seemed to me that Marxism had the answer.

God for a Marxist is the antithesis of progress. The whole concept of a supernatural world, the whole concept of a metaphysical world, is very much opposed to the strict letter of law of Marxism. It is the opiate of the people. Christianity according to Marx is the means by which the capitalist class will as it were employ to subdue the working class and to let them believe in some mythical concept that after death they will achieve eternal life. That, therefore, becomes the tool of the capitalist to oppress the worker with the consolation that “Well you are going to the afterlife world, I will not, but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy this all here, and you will have to suffer.” So that’s basically in a nutshell Marxism.

So, we were all quite happy until something happened. What happened was that we were following our gurus of the period. The avatars were the Beatles—particularly John Lennon, who we saw as being the intellectual Beatle, George Harrison the spiritual Beatle—Bob Dylan, of course, and some of the other spokesmen of the period. They were the acceptable voice of the youth of the 60s and 70s—the early 70s. One day the Beatles said that were going to India to seek metaphysical enlightenment, and we all thought wait a minute, they’re betraying the revolution. They’re going counter to everything that dialectical materialism—the idea that the revolution will only occur through the struggle of the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, the capitalist class. What’s this about going to India to seek enlightenment? We don’t understand that? I mean that was just, as you Americans would say, “left field,” is that? It was absolutely “left field.” We were amazed because it was John Lennon who said it, and because it was George Harrison who said it, well maybe we need to look into this, right? So begins a kind of a revision of Marxism among the student population now, and a possibility, a very important possibility, that maybe the answer is not just dialectical materialism, historical materialism, but it could be that there is something supernatural going on. Now that was an amazing admission to make because we were very logical, very empirical, very rational, we were the product of five hundred years of the age of reason, the age of enlightenment, we thought we have gone beyond the age of God, we had gone way past Christianity, at which we saw according to Nietzsche, I’m sure you read him, the uberman [Übermensch], the superman, the self-fulfilled man does not rely on any other external being but relies on himself and his own will to achieve that which is his to achieve, we believed all that. We read all that.

Now we’re told by Mr. Lennon and Mr. Harrison that perhaps we should seek beyond metarealism into the world of the metaphysical. My goodness that contradicted Bertrand Russell that was an extraordinary contradiction, but it was John Lennon, and so we needed to investigate further. So that’s what I did. I went into ashrams, I went into Hare Krishna temples, I went into guru led classes, we even had American Richard Alpert come from the United States, called himself Dam Rass [Ram Dass], or something like that, a great man, a great man. We listened to all this and we came to the conclusion, some of us, that Marxism wasn’t enough that there was something beyond the material, and there was something transcendent from pure material history, the economic factor of history, which is pure Marxism.

To make a long story short, once I went to one of the ashrams, this is in Australia, and the guru who claimed to represent no less than a fourteen year old child who is god, that fourteen year old Indian child, young man, was claimed to be god. We were curious to find out more about him so I went in there and the guru comes around and taps us on the forehead—receiving knowledge, receive knowledge, receive wisdom, receive. He came to me, at the time, we were all squatting in the traditional lotus position, etc. and I think I was wearing my Che Guevara hat and my Led Zeppelin cross something, and he asked me—oh Black Sabbath, sorry they used to wear crosses, so I wore a cross, Black Sabbath wore a cross—so he asked me to remove the cross, and I thought “What?” He said, “You have to remove the cross.” I said to myself I was not a Christian right, and I thought “How curious that this wise man, how curious that this devote of the avatar would be confounded by a fashion statement?” That’s all it was for me., just a fashion statement, you know. And he said, “Well, you must remove it.” I said, “You know what, I’m not going to remove it.” I actually contradicted and stood up and said, “I’m not going to remove it,” not because of anything of a faith which I did not have, but it was something inside of me telling me this cross is disturbing him. This cross has something that is to be investigated. So I left. I did not go on with the meditation and the road to wisdom according to their principles, you see. Having left I began to ponder on this issue of Christianity.

I think God was gracious enough to—what I am about to tell you now may sound strange and inconceivable, and illogical, which it is, in many ways. It is that. I needed that. I needed the illogicability of the metaphysical. I needed the inconceivable of the metaphysical. I needed that contradiction of the material life of the material reality for me to be able to release myself and to be able to accept the existence of God—so the Lord was merciful to me, and He gave me what can be described at least from my tradition, the Orthodox Church tradition and the monastic tradition, as a mystical experience.

Now I’m the last man in the world that should be getting mystical experiences, you know, trained in universities steeped in the empirical world, steep in the world of reason, steep in Greek philosophy, Aristotle, steep in everything that contradicts the metaphysical from childhood, and yet there it was. It was inexplicable, it was confrontational, it was radical, it was compelling, it was nonnegotiable, and I accepted it as my Damascus road experience. That was it, I accepted Christ. Nobody led me to Christ. There was no evangelical preacher who came to me. There was no priest who came to me. There was nobody who came to me with the Bible and said, “You must accept Jesus,” this came on its own without my wanting it to occur and it happened. From that, and there was a series of mystical experiences, I believed in Jesus. I believed in the existence of God. There was no doubting it anymore. I saw it. I saw it.

Unfortunately, in my case, it is because of my lack of faith that it had to happen that way. It doesn’t have to happen that way. It can happen in many ways, you know, but because of my being immersed in the world of reason, the world of logic, the world of rationality, there was no other way to jolt me out. God knows. God knows. That was the only way that I would have walked into the life of Christ. There was no other way. In His wisdom, that’s how He chose to bring me. That’s it, I never looked back ever since. That happened when I was twenty-two-twenty-three, and it saved me from so much blindness, walking in the wrong way, sin, and temptation, you name it.

Apologetics

Proofs for God Found in Nature, Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures

Hanegraaff, Hank-Proofs for GodHow do I respond to atheists who keep saying, “No proof, no proof, no proof!”

The atheist who says, “No proof, no proof, no proof,” is willing to say that nothing created everything, which is a pretty big leap of faith. Not only that, but they say life came from non-life, and the life that came from non-life produced morals. Again, a pretty big leap of faith.

Christians, on the other hand, are looking at the universe, and we are saying, “Quite evidently, every design presupposes a designer.” If we see a basketball, we presume there has to be a basketball maker. In the same sense, if you see the universe in its infinite complexity and beauty, we say, “There has to be a designer of that universe.”

In a Christian worldview, there are evidences then that God created the universe. Moreover, the God who created the universe and left his finger prints there also condescended to cloak Himself in human flesh. Jesus Christ is God manifested to the world. We don’t believe in Jesus Christ through blind faith; rather, we believe in Jesus Christ through faith in evidence. Christ demonstrated that He was God not only through His miracles but though His ultimate miracle, the resurrection by which He laid down His life and took it up again.

There are many proofs that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh and that the Bible’s is God’s master print for living our lives. It is divine as opposed to merely human in origin.

There are proofs. Those proofs are evident in the Word of God. Those proofs are also evident in the world in which we live.

—Hank Hanegraaff

The heavens declare the glory of God, | and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. | Day to day pours out speech, | and night to night reveals knowledge (Psalm 19:1-2, ESV).

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, ESV).

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Does the Bible Claim Jesus is God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Jesus Claim to be God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Credentials Back Up Jesus’ Claim to Deity? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Incarnation Incoherent? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Folly of Denying God (Hank Hanegraaff)

Seven Science Questions for Skeptics (Fred Hereen)

Ghosts for the Atheist (Robert Velarde)

Atheists and the Quest for Objective Morality (Chad Meister)

A “Good” Problem for Atheists (Elliot Miller)

The FEAT that Demonstrates the FACT of Resurrection (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Resurrection: Miracle or Myth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Do We Know the Bible is Divine Rather than Human in Origin? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Bible Reliability: M-A-P-S to Guide You through Bible Reliability (Hank Hanegraaff)

Blog adapted from “How can I show atheists proof of God’s existence?