Defending The Faith

Like it or not, the time in which we live demands that we as Christians be able to give some reasons for our belief in the truthfulness of Christianity and the Scripture.  For example, Christians must be able to answer questions like are the disciples reliable resources?  Are miracles possible? How can we test the reliability of ancient documents?  Was Jesus merely a good man or teacher?  Is there any evidence for believing in the resurrection?

Evidence for the trustworthiness of the Scripture and the claims of Christ and the Apostles are essential for speaking to our culture.

Richard Carpenter presented a superb paper in The Roundtable in Ideology entitled “The Case for Christ.”  It is a succinct treasury of evidence for the trustworthiness of the claims of the Scripture and Christ.  If you want to be equipped to answer some of the toughest questions concerning your Christian faith, then read this.

Case for Christ RT 2008

Think About IT: Should Churches be Involved in Science, State Education, Discussing Darwinism, Sponsoring Debates about Science, etc.?

According to Darwin Day Celebration, there were 729 events scheduled in 45 countries for Darwin Day 2009, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.

In response to the celebration of Darwin Day at the University of Oklahoma, and their invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak, Trinity Baptist Church collaborated with others in order to provide an opportunity for Academic Freedom.

The response involved hosting a conference at our church, “Designed For Faith”, a   presentation at OU by John West and Casey Luskin, both from the Discovery Institute, and a debate at OU between Intelligent Design theorist William Dembski and Darwinian philosopher and historian of science Michael Ruse, as well as producing some printed information.

Now this kind of endeavor by a church occasions the query from Christians, should churches be involved in challenging “scientific claims” or exposing the weaknesses of Darwinism and the bias of state education?  Many in academia have no question, but rather state emphatically, the church should not be involved since that is mixing religion and science and/or violating separation of church and state; in other words, the churches should mind their own business and leave educating young people to the public school and university system.

Should churches be involved in such issues?  My answer is emphatically and unequivocally YES!  Consider the following: Continue reading →

Nihilism and Existentialism not as esoteric as you think!

Rarely do I find a succinct, clear presentation of two somewhat esoteric worldviews like “Nihilism” and “Existentialism”.  However, Christoph Koehler did just that in his Round Table presentation on these topics; consequently, I thought I would blog his presentation for you.Now, I know that some of you are thinking what do nihilism and existentialism have to do with real life.  Well, I think if you will read this summary, you will find some ideas in them that you hear in various forums in the real world.  For example, the vacuousness of naturalism, which is the dominant metaphysic in academia today, is revealed in his section on nihilism.  The reason you may not even be aware of the prevalence of naturalism in normal conversations, lectures, and pronouncements is that its presence is quite often obfuscated by the gauzy disguise of scientific jargon.

Check it out!
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The Environment: A Christian Perspective

Recently, Page Lynn presented a paper on the environment in The Ethics Round Table. From which, I suggested four guidelines to The Round Table to assist us in thinking and acting christianly about environmental issues and our involvement. Following are those four suggestions. For a fuller discussion of this issue I recommend Cornwall Alliance web site, or sign up for the Round Table next year. Continue reading →

What I learned from an Atheist!

“There is a God” is the title of an excellent new book by the internationally known former atheist, Antony Flew. The book chronicles his journey into and from atheism over his long and influential life. Years ago I remember Norman Geisler saying that Antony Flew was the most formidable debater for atheism.

Well, I have learned—actually been reminded of—some things from this former atheist, which I think are worth mentioning. Continue reading →

Science, The unbiased and final arbitrator of truth: Really?

Science is often presented as, or understood to be, so objective that there is very little if any bias, and if there is any it will soon be found out and decisively dealt with.  The objectivity of science is portrayed as towering above other means of knowing.  Frequently, in one form or another, I have heard the argument that, “science is the best or only real source or test of truth”.  I have heard this mantra taught in university classrooms, articulated via the airwaves, and mentioned countless times by college students that I come in contact with.  Science as the final arbitrator of truth is based in large measure on its supposed unbiased objectivity. 

However, while science, particularly the scientific method, is an excellent way of studying and hypothesizing about empirical data within its legitimate domain, it does have domanial limitations, and it is not without inherent limitations and biases that can and do result in breaches of ethics, distortions of facts, and hyper-claims. Consider the following: Continue reading →

Intelligent Design: Intellectually and scientifically solid

Recently, we invited and hosted Dr. William Dembski to speak on Intelligent Design (ID) at The University of Oklahoma.  In preparation for his coming, some of our members produced a pamphlet that answered some of the most oft heard criticisms/objections to ID.

The answers are clear and concise.  For anyone wanting to better understand the ID position and not be misled by “religious evolutionist’s” misinformation and misrepresentation regarding ID, this article should prove quite helpful. Continue reading →

Evangelicals, Unwanted in The Public Square:

It is undeniable that some Americans just wish Christians would disappear from the public square.  Since that is hopefully not going to happen, they spend most of their time and effort arguing that while it is ok to believe in Christ and the Bible, Evangelicals should not bring their faith into the public marketplace of ideas, e.g. politics, education, law….They do not mind our religious faith as long as it is a private faith, and only practiced alone with other like-minded people.

A study released May 7, 2007 by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research once again confirmed the bias against evangelicals that exists on university campuses.
“Among non-evangelical university faculty, 53 percent… said they held an unfavorable view of evangelical Christians while expressing positive feelings toward most other religious groups. One professor said he attributes the disdain for evangelicals to their Republican Party activism and their perceived opposition to science.

Gary Tobin, the institute’s director and chief pollster, said the results undoubtedly reveal “bias and prejudice” among the nation’s educational leaders. Tobin told The Washington Post, “If a majority of faculty said they did not feel warmly about Muslims or Jews or Latinos or African Americans, there would be an outcry.” He goes on to note, “No one would attempt to justify or explain those feelings. No one would say, ‘The reason they feel this way is because they don’t like the politics of blacks or the politics of Jews.’ That would be unthinkable.”  Tobin further found “that 71 percent of faculty members agreed with the statement: This country would be better off if Christian fundamentalists kept their religious beliefs out of politics.” (( Continue reading →

Bibliography: The Trustworthiness of Scripture

As Christians we are often confronted with questions concerning the trustworthiness of Scripture.  For example, someone may say, “It must have mistakes since it was written by men” or ask “how can the Bible be accurate when there are so many translations?”  They may point out what they see, or have been told, are unresolvable problems like “how did Noah get and keep all those animals on the ark” or the differences in the various gospels account of events in Christ’s life.  They may say, “men determined what books would make up the Bible” which implies that the Bible is merely a human book.

The following is a list of books to help you learn the answers to such questions and be able to have a more mature understanding of the trustworthiness of the Scripture.  I have also included a book to help you learn how to study the Scripture.
Continue reading →

Why Religious Ideas Matter: Even in Public Debate

As you probably have heard, I am going to be a participant again in the Oxford Round Table this summer.  This time it will be held at Harris Manchester College in Oxford.  I will be presenting a paper entitled, “The Decline of Religion in Public Education and The Decline of Public Education”.  As a part of my presentation, I included an argument in support of the validity of “religious arguments” in the public marketplace of ideas like education, politics, law and morals.  Although I am not quite through with the argument, I thought I would share it with you before I leave on vacation. 

As you know, I am a strong proponent of Christians going into the public domain and presenting “the truth in love”.  Hopefully, the following will help you be better equipped to do that in even the most secular of forums. 

Secularists summarily dismiss religious arguments from the public square simply because they are religious, which they define as being associated with supernatural religion or anything non-secular.  In addition, an opinion is determined to be religious and therefore unworthy of public policy because it is either a part of a religious worldview, is derived from one’s religion, there is an element of faith involved, it is partly based on religion, or because it is merely consonant with religion. 

The context of the discussion concerning the appropriateness of religious arguments and their influence upon public policy may be considered from the vantage point of historical precedence, constitutionality, morality and rationality, or spiritual mandate for adherents.  The following is intended to addresses only moral and rational considerations.  Thus, the question is, “Is it moral to exclude religious opinions from a democratic public marketplace of ideas just because they involve an aspect of faith—a faith assumption?”  For the following reasons, my answer is NO.  Continue reading →