Archive for June, 2011

At STR Place we do NOT believe the bar needs to be lowered for young people.  With the proper training, they can handle difficult and complex topics.  Here’s a sample of some of the material we throw at youth, from our recent Boulder Mission trip:

Another Atheist Role Play

Posted: June 29, 2011 by Brett Kunkle in God is Real

I may enjoy this part of my job way too much…

Here’s a clip from a recent panel I participated in, discussing four issues:  abortion, the economy, the environment, and same-sex marriage.  During this exchange, we’re dealing with same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

The Teacher’s Out this Week

Posted: June 28, 2011 by Amy Hall in Etcetera

You know that feeling when you walk into a classroom expecting a quiz, and then you see there’s a video set up for everyone to watch? Yeah, that’s the best. And surprise! This week, instead of a challenge, we have the old video projector set up for you. Alan and Brett are both on vacation, so we have some special clips lined up for you to watch—a lively panel discussion, some atheist role-play, and even a special guest speaker, all topped off with the usual Friday silliness.

So take your regular seats and try to keep the paper airplanes to a minimum. And don’t bother telling me your name is Dee Izzim or Hugh Mannist when I take roll, because I’m on to you.

Enjoy!

Did Jesus Really Exist?

Posted: June 27, 2011 by Amy Hall in Jesus Changes Everything

In light of the challenge about Jesus’ existence last week, we thought we’d feature a new article on historical evidence for the existence of Jesus this week:

Because of the historical evidence of Jesus’ existence available to us today (biblical and non-biblical), there are very few scholars who attempt to argue that Jesus never lived. How do we know that Jesus was not simply a legendary character created decades later? Consider these bits of evidence…

Read about that evidence in the article, “Did Jesus Really Exist?” And while you’re there, check out the other featured articles on the STR Place homepage.

When I was meeting with Mormon missionaries, it was their view of God that was particularly grieving to me. I wanted them to know the God who is, was, and always would be God, who is not of the same species we are, who isn’t limited by a physical body, and who was always perfect, never sinned, and isn’t getting better (because such a thing wouldn’t be possible).

But below is a video where some Mormons explain why the very same LDS ideas about God that horrify me are actually encouraging to them. How can this be? The answer goes to the heart of the difference between the Mormon and Christian gospels.

For those of us whose main, ultimate purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever—a goal which can only be achieved by throwing ourselves into His mercy and grace because of our lowly sinfulness, we rejoice in a perfect and holy non-human God to trust in and worship. But for those Mormons whose main purpose is to progress to godhood through a series of requirements, this kind of God is the ultimate discouragement.

They are horrified by the thought that God is, and always has been, a completely different kind of being from us in form, eternality, holiness, and perfection because that puts the possibility of our becoming like Him (their primary goal) completely out of reach. But if we are of the same species as God, if He were once a sinner just like us, then they know that godhood is attainable, so they’re encouraged to not give up their striving. As one person in the video puts it, “That’s really what the [LDS] teachings are—just try to be better the next day than you were the day before.”

So while Christians are trusting only in God to cross the unimaginable distance between us by paying for our sins, Mormons are working to pay God back what they owe Him (as this LDS parable explains). You can see how an understanding of the vast difference between God and human beings will either cause us to rejoice or despair, depending on our goal.

If you’re interested in understanding the theological differences between LDS and Christian beliefs more clearly, James White’s book, Letters to a Mormon Elder, can be read for free online.  Here, also, is a list of Bible verses from CARM that can help you pinpoint where we differ (HT: Apologetics315, video by Aaron Shafovaloff).

FRIDAY FUN: Jesus Was Indian

Posted: June 24, 2011 by Amy Hall in Just for Fun

Apologist MaryJo Sharp helps us answer this week’s challenge:

Bad Biblical Interpretation

Posted: June 22, 2011 by Alan Shlemon in God Has Spoken
Tags:

Last week, I posted a blog of my professor, Walt Russell, talking about the importance of reading the Bible as well as you can read a blog (hermeneutics or biblical interpretation). This week, I’m posting the second half of that interview where Dr. Russell gives two examples of common interpretive mistakes from the Bible.

Here’s an objection that seems to be gaining in popularity:

Jesus never really existed. People just made him up later using bits of older myths of dying and rising gods like Mithra. It makes perfect sense when you look at the historical evidence.

This week, we’ll have a special guest with us, Mary Jo Sharp, to help answer this question. So give it your best shot, and let’s see how you do. And if you don’t know any facts by which you can refute this right now, tell us what kind of questions you would ask a person who offered this objection. What would he have to demonstrate to be true in order to back up his claim?