Questioning Christianity


Origin Movie (2017)

by Andrew Robbins

With spectacular computer animation and cutting-edge research, ORIGIN examines a question that has baffled science for centuries: How did life on Earth begin? Today, most researchers insist it arose through simple chemistry that—without direction of plan--transformed inanimate matter into the first living cell. Yet, this explanation is devoid of evidence and unsatisfying, even to its most ardent supporters. As ORIGIN exposes the flaws of materialistic theories, you’ll travel through a molecular universe to encounter extraordinary biological engineering fundamental to the survival of every organism that has ever existed. Engineering that points clearly to intelligence and mind. Ultimately, ORIGIN transcends science to probe the dee...
Questions

George Yancey: A Christian Solution to Racial Problems

by John Monroe

In the following talk Dr. George Yancey provides an answer to how Christians should respond to the racial issues which currently plague our society. He discusses some of the current models (color blindness, anglo-conformity, multiculturalism and white responsibility) which people support before offering an alternative solution based on Biblical principles, namely the depravity of man. Finally, he discusses how each of us should apply these principles moving forward. The talk is followed by a time of insightful Q&A with the audience. For a more in-depth look into Dr. Yancey's work check out a few of his books on this topic: Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Resp...
Culture, Questions

Can Science Integrate with Christianity?

by John Monroe

There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works. - Stephen Hawking Religion is a culture of faith, science is a culture of doubt. - Richard Feynman The apparent conflict between science and religion has persisted in the minds of ancient philosophers and modern scientists alike. How can Christians respond to this kind of criticism? Many hold views which seem to put science and relig...
Culture, Questions

Evolution or Creation or Both?

by Zachary Lawson

In a Nutshell... The issue of origins is knotty topic. In order to address it properly, there are several important distinctions to keep in mind. First, the age of the universe vs evolution - the old earth does not have any bearing on the diversity of life. Second, the scientific data vs the Scriptural data - each set is evaluated with completely different concepts and rules. Third, central issues vs auxiliary issues - the age of the earth may or may not carry as much weight as an issue such as the resurrection of Christ. In the following, we will survey three interpretations of Genesis 1 that are equally congruent with orthodox, conservative Christian beliefs: the literal calendar day interpretation, the literal day-age interpreta...
Questions, Textual Issues

If All Babies Go To Heaven, Is Abortion Okay?

by Zachary Lawson

Whether infants who die are redeemed or condemned is certainly a knotty problem and one that deserves to be treated soberly. Here, I will not attempt to tease out the various issues and reach a conclusion. Rather, I am going to examine a particular objection to a particular view and try to draw out some of the lurking presuppositions. In full disclosure, I do not have a position on this topic and I am weighing the various options carefully given the gravity of the implications. The position in view is the “all babies are saved” perspective (I will refer to this as “infant universalism”). As with the other views, it has its strengths and weaknesses; however, there is a common objection to this view that I do not think makes mu...
Culture, Questions

Who Overheard Jesus and Pilate?

by Zachary Lawson

There is an interesting objection to the reliability of the Gospels centered on the problem of private conversations. There are several interactions, the objection goes, wherein the details of the events are privy only to the participants of those events. The writers of the Gospels neither participated themselves in these events nor plausibly had access to witnesses of these event. Consider for example the following conversation between Jesus and Pilate from the Gospel according to John. Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the Ki...
Questions, Textual Issues

Is God a Divine Demagogue?

by Caroline Turpen

One common challenge posed by skeptics is to impugn the goodness of God using difficult passages from the Old Testament. Some of these challenges are trivial; for example, the challenge of 2 Samuel 12:31. In the KJV, this verse reads, “And he [David] brought forth the people that were therein and put them under saws and under harrows of iron and under axes of iron; and made them pass through the brickkiln; and thus he did unto all the children of Ammon.” Skeptics understandably find it distasteful that David, a man after God’s own heart, would engage in torture, even of the enemies of Israel. However, upon a closer look, we find (surprise!) that the language spoken in 17th century England, when the KJV was translated, was a l...
Questions, Textual Issues

Did David Hume Prove that Miracles are Impossible?

by Andrew Robbins

Before we jump into the discussion of the existence of miracles, we need to determine what a miracle is. Many different definitions could be proposed, but lets look at a few possibilities: Miracle: a violation of natural law (David Hume) Miracle: an event that cannot be explained by only natural causes Miracle: an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws (wikipedia) Miracle: an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause (Dictionary.com) Miracle: an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God (Merriam-Webster) Now, many of these definitions have philosophical presuppositions built in, fo...
Natural Atheology, Questions

What is the Christian Response to Climate Change?

by Andrew Robbins

In the United States, for a reason that is incomprehensible to me, Evangelical Christianity has become associated with strong political stances on a number of issues. Some of these stances, like abortion, make sense, but others, notably environmental issues and the perception that Christians are out to exploit and destroy nature, have nothing to do at all with the Christian message. So, politics aside, what is the real Christian response to climate change and other environmental issues? Specifically, what is the biblical response to these issues? First, it is worthwhile to note that Christians have thought about these issues for centuries. All too often we assume that we are the first generation to ask important questions and we ign...
Culture, Questions

Is Christianity Racist?

by Zachary Lawson

Short answer: no. Explanation: The sin of racism runs deep, especially in modern day American culture. Sadly, racism has stained the history of the Church and is even harbored by some denominations today. However, there is simply no excuse for a consistent, Biblical Christian to be racist. From a general perspective, Christians are called to personally love and serve all people - even people that are explicitly hostile to the message of Jesus. This alone leaves no room for racism; however, there are many examples in Scripture where the topic is explicitly addressed. Here is a small sample - two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. 1) The prophet Moses married a Cushite woman named Zipporah. A Cushite is a descend...
Culture, Questions

Why are New Testament books the only sources for Jesus?

by Andrew Robbins

First, we ought not disregard the historical value of the New Testament. Within the new testament we have at least eight independent authors confirming the outline of the life of Jesus. However, there are also many sources that tell us about the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the beliefs of his followers that do not come from Biblical sources. Jesus as a historical figure 1) Tacitus: first century roman historian, To get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures of a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, a...
Questions, Textual Issues

The Deductive Problem of Evil

by Andrew Robbins

The Argument If an all-powerful and perfectly good God exists, then evil does not exist. There is evil in the world. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good God does not exist. Or: God exists. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. ...
Natural Atheology

Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism

by Zachary Lawson

If there is no God, then all that exists is time and chance acting on matter. If this is true then the difference between your thoughts and mine correspond to the difference between shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr. Pepper. You simply fizz atheistically and I fizz theistically. - Douglas Wilson Definitions Defeater := a belief that gives reason to think another belief is false. R := our cognitive faculties are reliable N := naturalism is true E := evolution is true Pr( R|(N&E) ) = the probability that one's cognitive faculties are Reliable given Naturalism and Evolution   Outline of the premises Pr(R|(N&E)) is low The person who believes N&E (naturalism and evolution) an...
Natural Theology

How Can God be One and Three at the Same Time?

by Andrew Robbins

One of the most misunderstood doctrines of Christianity is that of the Trinity, and not only by non-believers; most Christians have difficulty explaining the doctrine. We will not here undergo a complete explanation and defense of the Trinity. Instead we will tackle the simpler question: Is the trinity a contradiction? Some would say yes, and the argument goes like this: 1) The Bible says God is one 2) The doctrine of the Trinity says God is three 3) God cannot be both one and three 4) Therefore a triune God cannot exist Now on the face of it, this is a good argument. However, it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine in its simplest form states There is one, and only one...
Questions, Textual Issues

Is God a Contradiction?

by Andrew Robbins

One of the often heard criticisms of the existence of God is that it somehow produced irreconcilable contradictions. These arguments range from the very simple to the very sophisticated, but most of them can be dealt with in a very straightforward manner. We will list a few: 1) Can God create a rock so big that he cannot lift it? The idea here is that if God is all powerful, He can do anything. But can He do something that that destroys his omnipotence? The answer is no. This is because the concept of a rock so big that an all powerful being cannot lift it is incoherent, it contains a logical contradiction. Since logic is grounded in the very nature of God, asking if he can create a logical contradiction is basically the same as a...
Natural Atheology, Questions

What about Slavery in the Bible?

by Andrew Robbins

Does the Bible support slavery? Some would claim that it does, and that this contradicts the view of an all loving God presented by Christians. Before we dive in to the issue, let us ask a more basic question, "how does God change the world?" This question is important, because the question at hand involves how God deals with immorality and injustice in the world. The accounts in the scripture shows two things about how works his will in the world: He uses means. That is, he uses people to accomplish his will in most cases. He uses time. God is very slow to judge people, he is patiently waiting, slowly changing things for the better. If these two assertions are true, lets look at the biblical data in the context of history. I...
Culture, Questions, Textual Issues

Hume's Argument Against Miracles

by Andrew Robbins

Modern skepticism concerning the gospel miracles first asserted itself by denying the miraculous nature of the events. Soon, however, the historicity of the events themselves was denied. Behind this skepticism lay the broad conception of a Newtonian world-machine, the arguments of Spinoza against the possibility of miracles, and the arguments of Hume against the identification of miracles. Counterpoised to these attacks were the defenses of miracles written by Le Clerc, Clarke, Less, Paley, and others. An assessment of the debate shows that, contra the Newtonian conception, miracles should not be understood as violations of the laws of nature, but as naturally impossible events. Contra Spinoza, admission of miracles would not serve to sub...
Natural Atheology

The Problem of Evil

by Andrew Robbins

Two Problems There is perhaps no stronger argument leveled against the existence of God than the existence of evil and suffering in the world. How could a good God allow suffering? Perhaps the strongest factor in the argument is not any logical problem, not any actual argument, but the pure emotional response that the thought of suffering produces. Because of this, the Christian dealing with this question must always bear in mind that there are two vastly different problems of evil: The existential/experiential/emotional problem The logical problem Before delving into the question, the wise apologist will always try to determine whether the questioner falls into the first category or the second. The Existential Problem The...
Natural Atheology

Argument from Religious Experience

by Andrew Robbins

An argument from religious experience seeks use certain experiences of individuals to provide weight to the hypothesis that God exists. There are several important considerations, however: Many people from different religious backgrounds make claims to religious experience An individual's experience cannot examined by others These two facts make these types of arguments difficult for general use. However, if the person making the claim is trustworthy and level-headed, a person might be persuaded that their claims are relevant. But any such arguments rely totally upon the trustworthiness of the person making the claim.
Culture, Natural Theology

Pascal's Wager

by Andrew Robbins

Pascal's wager is an historic argument for believing in Christian theism. The argument assumes that the only two options on the table are theism and atheism, and so today is considered outmoded in light of the various other options. The argument goes as follows: God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives. A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up. You must wager (it is not optional). Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite num...
Natural Theology

William Lane Craig's Minimal Facts Argument

by Andrew Robbins

Christianity, as a religion rooted in history, makes claims that can in important measure be investigated historically. Suppose, then, that we approach the New Testament writings, not as inspired Scripture, but merely as a collection of Greek documents coming down to us out of the first century, without any assumption as to their reliability other than the way we normally regard other sources of ancient history. We may be surprised to learn that the majority of New Testament critics investigating the gospels in this way accept the central facts underpinning the resurrection of Jesus. I want to emphasize that I am not talking about evangelical or conservative scholars only, but about the broad spectrum of New Testament critics who teach at s...
Natural Theology

Fine Tuning of the Universe for Life

by Andrew Robbins

  Definitions: Fine Tuning: “Fine-tuning refers to the surprising precision of nature’s physical constants, and the beginning state of the Universe. To explain the present state of the universe, even the best scientific theories require that the physical constants of nature and the beginning state of the Universe have extremely precise values.” By BioLogos ( http://biologos.org/questions/fine-tuning) Argument from Design: “aka teleological argument; an argument for the existence of God based on the hypothesis of an ultimate design, intention, or purpose in the universe” By Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/argument%20from%20design) Examples: from Discovery Institute (http:/...
Natural Theology

The Ontological Argument

by Zachary Lawson

Natural Theology – the enterprise of providing reasons and arguments for the existence of God independent of Scripture A Posteriori – arguments dependent on experience or empirical evidence Cosmological Arguments – facts about the universe Teleological Arguments – evidences for design Historical Arguments – evidence from the past A Priori – arguments independent of experience; no appeal to evidence Moral Arguments – evidence from moral experience Consciousness Arguments – start with self awareness Ontological Arguments – start with the definition of God What is God? Creator Theology – starts with “God is creator of the universe” Perfect Being Theology – starts with “God is a maxi...
Natural Theology

The Moral Argument

by Husain Alshehhi

Introduction The moral argument is one of a family of arguments attempt to show that the existence of God is plausible given some basic beliefs (These arguments are called “transcendental arguments” - these are arguments that try to show that some propositions X are necessary conditions for Y).  This argument shows that the objectivity of moral values and duties, if exist, are best explained by a divine being which has the nature of being necessarily good. Different versions of the argument has been given, some are plausible and some are not. However, here I am going to defend what I think the most plausible version of the argument. If God does not exists, objective moral values and duties do not exist; Objective moral va...
Natural Theology

Argument from Contingency

by Zachary Lawson

This argument is based upon an argument originally proposed by the famous mathematician and Christian apologist Gottfried Leibniz. It is a type of cosmological argument that does not invoke the beginning of the universe, but rather the explanatory structure of the universe. Definitions Necessity: A being's existence is metaphysically necessary if it cannot fail to exist; the being exists in all logically possible worlds. The explanation of the existence of a necessary being is in the necessity of its own nature. Contingency: A thing is contingent if it could exist but it could have failed to exist. For example, the Earth's existence is contingent. It exists but it could have failed to exist (indeed, at one point the Earth didn...
Natural Theology, Uncategorized

Kalam Cosmological Argument

by Andrew Robbins

Introduction Cosmological arguments are a family of arguments attempting to show that the universe requires a first cause or sufficient reason (see: Lebnizian Contingency argument) to explain its existence. The form of the argument we will deal with is espoused by W. L. Craig and began in the 3rd and 4th century in response to the Greek hypothesis of the eternity of the world. The argument was further developed by medieval Islamic thinkers. Craig calls this the Kalam cosmological argument (Kalam means speech in Arabic, and identifies a doctrinal position) Logical form Whatever begins to exist has a cause The universe began to exist Therefore, the universe has a cause Since this is a valid logical form, if the premises are tru...
Natural Theology