Challenge: What Can We Learn about God from Apologetics?

Posted: May 15, 2012 by Amy Hall in God is Real, Weekly Challenge

Take a look at this video and tell us what you think. Our favorite cold case detective will be responding to this with Brett on Thursday (you’ll understand why after you watch the video).

  1. It seems that the “why” questions and knowledge he talks about cannot be separated from the “what”. If the “what” of God’s existence or Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection are not true, then the “why” questions do not matter. So knowing the facts of the matter is important for knowing whether the “why” answers are valid or not.

  2. jeremy says:

    i agree with Kyle. The “Why?” is not really important without the “What?”, and vice versa.

  3. I took a look at the website for this book and found this description:

    “No Argument for God is the first book of its kind to turn the tables on atheists and agree with them that faith is irrational . . . And then examine whether there is room for conversation beyond that. What if Christianity’s “absurdity” is the very thing that actually validates it? What if this nonsense is an ironic ‘evidence’ of its divine authorship?

    Grab your copy of No Argument for God now and take a journey that not only explores what the apostle Paul called the “foolishness” of faith but also the rather narrow boundaries of human reason. This provocative book will help you strengthen your faith and will cause those nearing faith to want to discover more about a God who works beyond reason.”

    I actually think I will read this book as I am fascinated to hear exactly what the “argument” for John Wilkinson’s position is. Perhaps the book will offer a deeper explanation of what he is getting at than the short description above. However, if we take his claims at face value, I think we run into a significant problem.

    If divine revelation is the only important facet of our faith, I don’t see how Christianity fairs any better than any other belief system. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely an important part of our faith, but the problem is that many other people have also claimed to have received divine revelation. For example, I once had a long debate with a Mormon missionary. Throughout the course of our debate I asked her questions about how she explained problems I have with the Mormon religion such as contradictions between their religious texts and the questionable nature of Joseph Smith’s character based on documented history. She hesitated to answer these questions, and eventually she realized I was gaining the upper hand.

    In a final attempt to win me over she said something like this (I don’t remember her words exactly but it was something like this), “I can see where you’re coming from. The truth is I don’t really know how to give you good answers to these objections. However, I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal the truth to you. I have done this, and He really showed me that the Book of Mormon is His word and that Joseph Smith was His prophet. If you sincerely seek, I’m sure He will reveal the same to you.”

    This brings me to my point. Who is right, me or her, and how do we figure out? It can’t be that we listen for divine revelation, because both me and her claim to have received such revelation, and the information we received is in conflict. What is the adjudicating factor for discovering truth?

    This is where apologetics and reason has to come in. I think Ravi Zacharias says it best when he says we have to examine how a worldview answers the questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. Through both examination of empirical evidence and the logical reasoning process, a worldview must be found to answer these questions in line with what we know to be true and afterward still be a coherent worldview. The only worldview that can do this is that of Christianity (see Ravi’s video here:

    I would challenge John Wilkinson by altering his story just a bit. Suppose after the man with his dog goes home, he explains to his neighbor what just occurred. His neighbor looks confused and says, “John I was actually going to call you. I don’t know who that man was but that’s not right. I was home and I saw what happened. A car drove into the neighborhood, a thug got out, threw the ball through your window and then drove away.” Or suppose another CSI inspector comes to his house and says, “I don’t know how the previous inspector got his data, but from what I can see, the ball didn’t break the window at all. It looks like the window was smashed by a lead pipe and someone put the ball inside to make it look like it had broken the window.”

    Now how do we approach the issue? We have three different answers to the question why is my window broken. Like Kyle said, if the answers to the question what are not true, then the question why does not matter. Without reason and apologetics, how can we claim our faith in God’s revelation is any different from the beliefs of a different religion or even an atheist?

  4. Jack says:

    Some people need to to know ‘what’ AND ‘why’, sometimes ‘why’ is meaningless before we’ve waded through a whole bunch of ‘what’. So, for example, if God has revealed to us ‘why’ through the Bible I need to know that the claim of the Bible being the word of God is a reasonable claim. I need to know ‘what’ about all those ‘contradictions’ and ‘what’ about all those additions and subtractions etc etc. Then if the ‘whats’ can be answered satisfactorily I might believe the ‘why’.

    Not that I personally have those questions any more but when I talk with people those are things they ask me. 🙂

  5. Mark in Columbia, MO says:

    No analogy is perfect but in this story, I don’t think it’s that far off and in fact it helps us as people trying to follow Jesus see our role in the Great Commission. Where this analogy falls short is in describing the reality of where many atheists and unbelievers are in their lives. Some wander in the back room, watching TV, never knowing a ball has broken their window. Some will actually deny the ball they see on the floor. Some will deny the broken window. Some will protest that a broken window is not a problem. Some will protest that we don’t need a ball thrower because, clearly, the ball has evolved to fly through the air with great efficiency. Perhaps the role of the apologist is simply to help the home owner be prepared for the truth when the man inevitably knocks on the door?

  6. bwgoodson says:

    What I find interesting is that I actually think the CSI guy is more like many Christians I encounter that don’t see a need for apologetics. The CSI guy keeps coming back to “I don’t know why, but there is a ball on this side of the window”. This seems to have echoes of people who respond to questions about biblical content with the old, “I don’t know why, but the bible says it, that settles it.” You can dress a fundamentalist up in a lab coat, but it doesn’t change his approach to the world.