Archive for April, 2011

The Unbelievable podcast had an interesting discussion between Christian Andrew Wilson (author of Deluded by Dawkins?) and atheist Gordon Livesey about Richard Dawkins’s book, The God Delusion. I thought it would be interesting to see how you would respond to Livesey, who is disturbed by the fact that “theology has been promoted as a topic worthy of study.”

One striking bit in the book, which I remember, is when [Dawkins] was asking—it could have been his physics lecturer or astronomy lecturer—about the origin of the big bang, and he said something to his lecturer like, “Well, why should there be a big bang?” And his lecturer said, “Ah, this is the point at which I hand you over to the chaplain.” And he then goes on to say, “Why? What does the chaplain know about it? Surely a lecturer in astronomy would know much more about it than a chaplain.”

And so [Dawkins] is trying to put the point that theology has been promoted into the realms of academia where it really has no place there. And when Andrew says that Richard Dawkins is operating outside his field of expertise [when discussing the Bible], the way I would respond to that is to say that theology is not really an expertise in itself, it’s a created topic of study. It has no basis in science. Its basis is ancient scripture and old-fashioned texts. There’s a bit in [Dawkins’s] book, as well, in which Richard Dawkins goes through the Old Testament and gives you some of the horrific behavior of God, and so on. And that’s what the subject of theology is based on. And Richard Dawkins quotes another student who went to his lecturer and said, “Is it all right to do my dissertation on the subject of theology?” And his lecturer says, “Well, I don’t consider that a subject.”

So you’re sitting in a radio station having this discussion with Livesey. What do you say? Let’s hear your ideas! We’ll hear what Brett would say on Thursday.

Another Atheist Role Play

Posted: April 18, 2011 by Brett Kunkle in Events, God is Real

Last week I had another chance to role play an atheist, this time with students in Texas.  My time with these junior high, high school, and college students demonstrates the absolute need for regular in-depth apologetics training for our Christian youth:

Here’s my response to this week’s challenge:

Friday Fun: Are You Scared?

Posted: April 15, 2011 by Brett Kunkle in Just for Fun

Conference in Phoenix

Posted: April 14, 2011 by Amy Hall in Events

If you’re in Arizona, we encourage you to attend the Smart Faith Youth Apologetics Conference this year on June 10-11. Brett will be one of the featured speakers, along with Mary Jo Sharp. You can take a look at the speakers, topics, and registration info on their website.

The Oldspeak of Evolution Must Evolve

Posted: April 13, 2011 by Alan Shlemon in Intelligently Designed

People are stupid. They won’t accept evolution. Some still think plants and animals were designed and that God was somehow involved. But no worries – we’ve identified the problem. It turns out that evolutionists are using the wrong kinds of terms to describe how natural selection and mutation works. And these terms inadvertently imply design. Not only is this confusing to simple-minded lay folk like you and me, but apparently “it even leads scientists themselves astray sometimes…” Well, that needs to be changed!

Editor of the journal Bioessays, Andrew Moore, offers a solution. Evolutionists must change the language they use to talk about evolution. The old way of speaking about evolution inadvertently implies design and intent. And, well, you can’t have that. The new way of speaking eliminates anthropomorphic terms.

But there’s a reason why scientists often use terms like “design.” It’s because it seems obvious that certain features in biology are designed. But many evolutionists have a philosophical commitment to naturalism that forces the counterintuitive conclusion that nothing is designed.

Akin to George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (Moore, by the way, uses Orwellian terms in his article), the new approach uses terms that obscure the obvious implications of design. It removes Oldspeak words like “design,” “purpose,” and “adapt” in favor of Newspeak that eliminates any hint that intelligence or a mind is behind the development of biological systems.

And obvious words like “design” aren’t the only words to get axed. Even the innocuous word, “to” is apparently a serious threat. Moore writes that the word, “to” is “short for ‘in order to’, or ‘with purpose of’. Purpose can only be exercised by a supernatural entity…” Such concern over a tiny word like, “to” would make even Bill Clinton envious (“It depends upon what the meaning of the word, ‘is’ is.”).

First, the evolutionary establishment makes it a thoughtcrime to question their paradigm (and expels dissidents). Now Big Brother wants to stop evolutionists from using words that might imply design. I guess when only 14% of American adults think evolution is “definitely true,” you have to resort to something.

Thank God Orwell for this idea.

Maybe the two books evolved from a common ancestor.

(HT: Casey Luskin)

Here’s a question Brett received on Facebook:

Not too long ago I met this girl, and she is having a really tough time in life right now. In fact, she has had a tough life. She has a bad family connection and looks for comfort in wrong places. I’ve been trying to get her to know Christ, but she is total atheist. As many times I have mentioned God in conversations, she changes the subject. I was wondering if you have any advice for me to help her out and show her how much she needs the Lord.

If your friend were hurting as this person’s friend is hurting, what would you do? What would you say? How would you communicate the truth about God to her? We’ll see what Brett has to say on Thursday, but for now, we want to hear your ideas.

Questioning Evangelism

Posted: April 11, 2011 by Brett Kunkle in Resources, Truth Matters

Christians talk too much.  At least, they feel the pressure to.

I have a talk entitled “Why I Am a Christian,” where I discuss the primary reason we ought to follow Christ:  because He’s the Truth. Christianity (in the sense of C.S. Lewis’ “mere Christianity”) is true and we have good reasons to think so.  But sometimes, when students hear this they feel pressure to have all the right answers for their non-believing friends.  I hear the stress in their voices when they ask, “So what should I say to my non-Christian friends?” Here’s my advice.

First, start with questions. Oftentimes, Christians think evangelism means we talk and others listen. So, the believer is supposed to have a polished “Gospel presentation” and a finely tuned response to all objections. But this approach is undignifying to non-Christians and it completely ignores the unique questions an individual might have. And it’s why some Christians are really good at answering questions no one is asking. Francis Schaeffer’s words are instructive here: “If I have only an hour with someone, I will spend the first 55 minutes asking questions and finding out what is troubling their heart and mind, and then the last 5 minutes I will share something of the truth.”

I encourage students to start with Stand to Reason’s first two “Columbo” questions:

#1 — What do you mean by that?
#2 — How did you come to that conclusion?

The first question gives you the opportunity to really get to know the other person.  They are not an evangelistic target.  They’re not a means to an end.  They’re a valuable human being made in the image of God and deserving of dignity and respect.  Plus, this question gives you more information about what they believe, rather than assuming you already know.

The second question takes the pressure off you by putting the burden-of-proof on them.  Everyone believes something and you’re simply asking why they believe what they believe.  It’s not just Christians who need to give reasons for their beliefs.

Notice something.  These two questions require absolutely no knowledge on your part.  You can use them in your very next conversation.  So, the pressure is off a bit.  You don’t have to have all the right answers or a slick presentation.  Just start with questions.

Second, have a modest goal for your conversations.  When an opportunity for a “God conversation” arises, don’t feel like you have to get that person to the Gospel in the next 10 minutes.  Instead, simply attempt to put a stone in their shoe.

Christians feel pressure to get to the cross in every conversation.  But that’s an unrealistic goal.  The cross is utter foolishness to an atheist in your first conversation.  Rather, a more realistic goal is to put a stone in their shoe.  It’s the idea that you give some information that bothers them, causes them to think (notice, it’s the information that bothers them, not you!).  And in the next conversation, they may want to know more.  If you put enough stones in, who knows, you may even get them to give up some of their false beliefs, moving them toward God’s truth.  Of course, if you get to the cross in the first conversation, great.  Go there.  But usually the soil of the heart needs time to be tilled before it’s receptive to Christ’s message of reconciliation.  Indeed, it may take years of tilling.

This advice is usually followed by an audible sigh of relief.  Pressure relieved.  Of course, some pressure is good but not when it’s paralyzing.  We don’t want Christians sitting on the bench, we want them in the game.  We need to be having deep, profound, meaningful conversations with non-believing friends and family.  Hopefully, good questions and a realistic goal will move us in that direction.

 

Government of Chile Makes Pro-life Commercials

Posted: April 11, 2011 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing

Check out these two pro-life commercials funded by the Chilean government. President Sebastian Pinera of Chile said that his country’s “democracy protects human rights, especially the right to life from conception to natural death.” You go Sebastian!

If you’re looking for a way to become a speaker on apologetics, Frank Turek’s annual CrossExamined Instructor Academy (CIA) is coming up on August 11-13 in North Carolina:

CIA is an intense three-day program where you will learn how to present I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist—which involves four main topics: Truth, God, Miracles and the New Testament—and how to answer questions about those topics in a hostile environment. During those three days, in addition to hearing lectures and participating in discussions, you will be asked to present a portion of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and answer questions from several instructors including Frank Turek, Greg Koukl, Richard Howe, and others.

This year you will also have the benefit of interacting with one of the founders of the Intelligent Design movement, Dr. William Dembski….

What happens after completing CIA? We would like you to present I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist wherever you can get invited—your church, youth groups, middle and high schools and anywhere else people will hear you. Bloom where you are planted! You will also become part of the CIA network of instructors that gives you exclusive access to our email forum where you can ask questions and exchange ideas about apologetics, Christianiity and related topics.

Greg and Brett will both be instructors at CIA, as they have been for the past few years. See the website for more info on qualifications, applications, tuition, etc. Application deadline is July 11.