How Will You Answer the Questions?

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How Will You Answer the Questions?

Not long ago the lead singer of a Christian metal band told the world how he had become an atheist and this caused quite a stir on the internet. The band is The Order of Elijah and the singer is Shannon Low. He explained his deconversion on the band’s Facebook page. One of the things that bothers me the most about the story is how the Christian friends around him responded to some questions he began to have about God, Jesus and the Bible.

question-marks-300x300Rather than helping him with answers to these legitimate questions he was having, he says that his Christian friends would literally get furious with him for even addressing the questions. He says that sometimes he would actually lose Christian friends by simply pondering certain questions. Certainly this should not happen in the family of Christ.

God is Not Afraid of Questions and Neither Should We Be

As I have written here several times, I don’t think God is afraid of our questions. It’s natural that we have some questions about our faith and we should not fear asking them. Many of the initial questions Shannon Low had were about some of the prophet’s behavior, and the behavior of God himself in the Old Testament. These are valid questions, ones which many of us who follow Christ may not have great answers for off the top of our heads. However, a lot of good Christian thinkers have given a lot of thought and have written a lot about these questions over the years and there are answers. How much better would it have been if Shannon’s Christian friends had said, “You know, those are  good questions. Let’s read and work through them together.”

Without Answers from Christian Friends He Went Looking Elsewhere

Because his Christian friends weren’t prepared to answer his questions, or even to look for answers with him, he looked elsewhere and found Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion. He says that he learned things about the history of the Bible that he didn’t know before. He says, “I never knew that the earliest gospel wasn’t written until half a century after Christ supposedly died, or that Paul never read any gospels, or that there isn’t even any evidence from that time that Jesus existed.”

The reason he didn’t know those things was because they are untrue or misleading misinformation. It’s too bad that in his years as a Christian he didn’t learn more about how the New Testament came together so that he wouldn’t be swayed by this kind of misinformation.

Though a gap of 50 years would be very good by historical standards when it comes to ancient documents, evidence is good that the first Gospel was written well before that and the letters of Paul were written even earlier, about 25 years after Jesus’ death. What’s more, he quotes material that scholars have dated to as early as 5 years after the crucifixion. That’s why Paul didn’t read the Gospels, because he wrote even earlier, closer to the events. Paul was familiar, though, with the eyewitness sources of the Gospels to follow soon after. And the idea that there isn’t any evidence from the time Jesus existed is just plain untrue, as you can read here.

I’m not saying that I no longer have any questions about Christianity. There are still some things that can bring some tension. But when I consider all the evidence and put the whole case together, I believe that the case for Christianity is a strong case and makes the most sense of all the evidence there is.

Just “Giving Them to God”

Sadly, I think there’s one more way Shannon’s Christian friends may have failed him. Through a good portion of his life he struggled with an addiction to alcohol. He says, “I stopped trying to pray my alcoholism away and began combating it with real methods. I began confronting my problems head on rather than ‘giving them to god’” Now of course, I believe we should give our problems to God, we should trust in him and ask for his help. But that doesn’t mean that we should just pray and not combat them with real methods with God’s help. Maybe this is what he was hearing in his Christian circle, but prayer is not a substitute for getting counseling and therapy.

I think most of us would not say that prayer is a substitute for going to the doctor when you’re sick. It’s also not a substitute for getting counseling help when you need it. Yes, we pray and ask God to bring healing, physical, mental or emotional, but that doesn’t mean we don’t gratefully take advantage of the ways he’s provided to help with that healing.

Going along with that, I’d like to make one more application. I sometimes hear in the church that we don’t really need apologetics, we don’t really need to share the evidence for Christianity because people come to faith by the Holy Spirit and he can overcome any faulty opposing ideas they have. And while God can certainly do that, he often works through normal means.

If my daughter is sick, if her health is under attack by some disease, I could think, “I don’t need to take her to the doctor, after all God can overcome whatever is attacking her without any help.” But I wound’t do that because God has provided the doctors and all the knowledge that can be brought to help make her well, and I believe that making use of that knowledge is part of his plan.

Likewise, God has provided the knowledge that combats the attacks that are brought against him and against Christianity, and I totally believe that using that information is part of his plan to bring people to himself. But in order for that to happen we need to be sharing the evidence with them. Let’s not just sit back while God and Christ are under attack, as people around us are being fed misinformation that leads them further from him. Let’s be prepared to answer their questions and let’s be used by God in dispensing the truth, the evidence for the Gospel, the case for Christianity.

Thanks to William Lane Craig for his Reasonable Faith podcast on this.

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Thankful for a God Who Has Given Us Evidence

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Thankful for a God Who Has Given Us Evidence

This Thanksgiving weekend one thing that I am definitely thankful for is having a God that doesn’t just say, “Believe, even if there’s no evidence, believe in me blindly.” Some people have the impression that being a Christian in today’s world means checking your brain at the door and believing things in spite of evidence to the contrary. Like Christians are holding on to something which may have been believable in a past day when we just didn’t know enough. However, I believe that the Christian worldview is something that you can come to by a logical, rational examination of the evidence, if you’re willing. And this is so because God has provided us with a lot of evidence that we can examine.

Images for Case

I Am Thankful God Did This for Me

God didn’t have to provide us with evidence. He could have just demanded blind faith and obedience. That would be his right as creator, but I’m thankful that what I see in the Bible is a God who understands the human beings he has created. He knows that we have questions and don’t want to believe something just because we’re told to. We don’t want to believe something that isn’t true. We don’t want to get taken. God has given us minds to think and reason with and so he’s not surprised when we have questions and want to see evidence. I think this is true of all of us to some extent, and for people like me, who think like I do, this is VERY important. So I’m thankful that God understands this and isn’t threatened by it. How have I come to this conclusion? Because time and again in the Bible I see God providing evidence to help people believe.

I see God providing evidence of his existence and power to the Egyptians through Moses with the plagues. I see God providing evidence that he is the true God to Ahab and the prophets of Baal through Elijah on Mount Carmel. And while there are many more examples I could site, ultimately God gave evidence of who he is and his incredible love for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus performed many miracles to validate who he was and he even said, “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”” (John 10:37-38)

God understands me and, because he loves me, he has provided evidence to help me believe. Even when those moments of doubt come, when I ask myself, “Is it really all true?” and I wonder, “Is it worth living this Christian life, following after Jesus? Maybe it would be easier to just abandon it all and live however I want.” — when those moments occasionally come, the evidence is still there and I can’t escape the rational conclusion that it is all true and it makes the most sense to me when looking at all the evidence. God is real, he made us. Jesus is real and he is God in human flesh, shown by his resurrection from the dead. And Jesus loves me, in spite of my sins and failures and wants the best for me and wants me to know him and live in his love.

I Am Thankful God Did This So I Can Share with Others

I’m thankful that when I think of all God has done for me and I want to share that with others, that he has given me something solid and objective that I can share with people who have questions like I did. It’s important for us to share our stories of what God has done for us. As some have rightly said, people can’t argue with what we say has been meaningful and helpful for us, but that doesn’t stop them from just saying, “Well that may have helped you but that doesn’t mean it’s true for me.” So thankfully there’s more that we can share, along with our testimonies, that is objective and can’t just be easily brushed aside.

There is evidence that we can and should share that people can examine objectively. For those who are open and seeking the truth, the evidence we share can be used by God to answer their questions and help bring them to faith. And for those who aren’t open, they can continue to write off Christianity, if they so choose, but they can’t do so making the claim that there’s nothing objective to it, that it’s just a bunch of non-sense that has been rationally disproved. You can’t argue someone into becoming a Christian, but by sharing the evidence God has provided — evidence of creation, evidence of the resurrection, evidence supporting the truth and reliability of the Bible — we can remove a barrier that stands between them and faith, or a barricade that they are hiding behind so as not to have to face God himself.

I’m thankful that God has provided us with truth, truth that I can stand on and truth that I can share.

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” — 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

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Is There an Objective Moral Law? Part 2

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Is There An Objective Moral Law?

A lot of people today like the concept of moral relativism, the idea that there’s no objective standard of right and wrong.  Last week I began laying out the case for why I think that there must be an objective moral law.  This week I continue presenting, for your consideration, the reasons why I believe this to be the case.


Without an objective moral law there would be no way to measure moral differences

Frank Turek and Norman Geisler present the two different maps of Scotland below and ask us which is the better map, Map A or Map B?

maps of scotland

How can we tell which is the better map? The only way is to compare them to what the real Scotland looks like.  You have to compare both maps to the real, unchanging place called Scotland.  If Scotland doesn’t exist then both maps are meaningless, but since it does exist we can see that Map A is better because it’s closer to the unchanging standard, the real Scotland.

This is the same thing we do when we compare the behavior of Adolf Hitler to the behavior of Mother Teresa.  We appeal to an objective standard that is beyond both of them.  C.S. Lewis put it this way, “The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other.  But the standard that measures two things is something different than either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to the real Right than others. Or put it this way.  If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Naziz less true, there must be something- some real morality – for them to be true about.”

If there is no objective moral law, then there’s no moral difference between the actions of Mother Teresa and Hitler.  If everything is just a matter of personal opinion and preference, and there’s no objective standard, then how can we say that Hitler’s preference for murdering people is worse than Mother Teresa’s preference for helping people?  If moral relativism is true then there’s no moral difference between slavery and freedom, love and hate, abuse and care.  But we know this isn’t the case.  We no that what Hitler did was wrong and that Mother Teresa did was right, regardless of what either of them thought of the rightness of their actions.

The fact that we sense we fall short is evidence that there is an objective moral law

Most all of us have a clear sense that we fall short of how we should live our lives.  I know I do. I know that I’ve blown it and have failed to treat others as I should countless times. I experience guilt when I fall short.  This is another evidence that there is an objective moral law that I’m aware of that I violate.  Maybe I feel guilty because I am.  The other reasons I’ve presented lead me to believe that this is indeed the case.

So if there is an objective moral standard, what are the implications of this?

An Objective Moral Law points to the existence of an Moral Law Giver

gavelEvery law has a law giver.  Laws don’t just come into existence on their own.  They are considered and given by law makers/givers. Therefore if there is an objective moral law, there is an objective, transcendent, moral law giver.  This law giver would be above and beyond humanity. So who would this moral law giver be?  God is the most reasonable explanation for such a transcendent moral law giver.  As J. Warner Wallace says, “If God exists, He would certainly transcend all species, cultures, locations and moments in time. For this reason, the existence of transcendent moral truth is best explained by the existence of God as the transcendent source of such truth.”

The existence of a God who created us and is above us explains why we would have an undeniable sense of right and wrong.  The Bible presents such a God who cares about right and wrong.  He wants what’s right to be done and not what’s wrong.  This is because he is good and loving and just and he doesn’t want what’s evil and wrong to go on.  None of us want to be victims of what’s wrong and God doesn’t want us to be either.

Good News

We may not like the idea of there being an objective moral law because, if there is, we know we violate it.  We might like to think it’s all relative and so we’re not guilty, but when someone wrongs us, we know that’s not right.  The good news is that God, the moral law giver, knows that we all fall short of his law and he came up with a way that we can be forgiven and not have to pay the penalty for our law breaking.  The Bible says that Jesus is God and he came here to give his life for us on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

A just law giver and judge can’t just let it go when the laws are broken, when wrong is done. If Hitler had lived, none of us would have been ok with it if a judge who tried him just let all the wrongs things he did go unpunished. The problem is that we’ve all done wrong things.  The good news is that Jesus paid the penalty for the wrong things that I’ve done and that you’ve done.  The Bible says that because of Jesus’ loving sacrifice for us, and his rising from the dead, if we place our faith in him and ask him to forgive us and make us right with God, he will. (John 3:16; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:13)  And then as we seek to live in his ways out of love and gratitude for what he’s done for us, he helps us.

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler
Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace


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Is There An Objective Moral Law?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Objective Morality, Questions | Leave a comment

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Is There An Objective Moral Law?

Is there an absolute, objective standard of right and wrong or are ideas of right and wrong relative?  A lot of people today like the concept of relativism.  We hear things said like “That may be true for you but it isn’t for me.”  Some say that there is no absolute standard, morals are just made up and determined by people and cultures.  Others believe that there is an absolute standard of right and wrong that exists outside of us, outside of the opinions of individuals and cultures.  So what’s the case?  Here are some reasons I believe there does exist an objective moral law.


People all over have a sense of right and wrong

Everyone has the sense that to love is right and to hate is wrong.  They know that courage  is better than cowardice.  C.S. Lewis put it this way in Mere Christianity, “Think of a country where people were admired for running away in a battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five.”  Everyone knows that it’s wrong to kill innocent human beings for no reason. Some people may deny that and murder anyway, but deep down they know it’s wrong. Professor J. Budziszewski of the University of Texas at Austin says that even serial killers know murder is wrong – they just may not feel remorse.

Our reactions show our knowledge of the objective moral law

While we may not think that the ways we treat others are wrong, when people mistreat us, our reaction shows that we know what’s right and wrong.  Frank Turek and Normal Geisler share the story of a college student who wrote an ethics paper on how all morals are relative, that there is no absolute standard of justice or rightness.  He wrote that it’s all a matter of opinion, “you like chocolate, I like vanilla”. The paper was written well and turned in on time in a blue folder.  After reading it, though, the professor gave him an “F”, writing on the cover, “I don’t like blue folders!”  The student was enraged at this.  He stormed up to the professor and said, “That’s not fair! That’s not right!”  But the professor replied, “Didn’t your paper say that there is no such thing as fairness, rightness or justice?”

I may not think that stealing is wrong when I steal from you, but watch how I react with moral outrage when you steal from me. As Turek and Geisler say, “The Moral Law is not always the standard by which we treat others, but it is nearly always the standard by which we expect others to treat us.”

Without an objective moral law there would be no human rights

20071018_declarationAs Turek and Geisler point out, the United States was established by the belief in an objective moral law and God-given human rights. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence :

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Notice he didn’t write, “We hold these ideas to be our opinion.  King George likes chocolate but we like vanilla.”  They appealed to a creator because they believed he was the one who gave human rights and that his objective moral law was the standard that would justify their fight for independence.

Almost two hundred years later it was because of God-given human rights, coming from an objective moral law that transcends national laws, that the Allies could bring Nazi war criminals to trial after World War II.  They were convicted of violating basic human rights.  If there was not an objective moral law that stands above national law, then on what basis were the Nazis condemned?  If there was not an objective moral law that establishes human rights, on what basis could countries ever tell another country that what they are doing is wrong?  The Nazis were tried and condemned because we all know that what they did was absolutely wrong, regardless of what their national laws and government said.


These are just a few reasons I give for your consideration. Next week I’ll continue with a few more reasons why I believe that there must be an objective more law and then we’ll look at the implications of that as we consider our view of the world.

Source: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler


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Is Religion a Source of Evil?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Questions, Why Jesus Came | Leave a comment

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Is Religion a Source of Evil?

Some have said something like, “More wars have been fought and more blood has been shed in the name of God than any other cause. Religion is the greatest source of evil in the world.”  But is that true?  The facts show otherwise.

Though one can point to witch hunts, crusades and religious jihad, as Greg Koukl has said, the historical facts show that the greatest evil has always resulted from the denial of God, not the pursuit of him.

Dennis Prager notes that in the 20th century alone, “more innocent people have been murdered, tortured, and enslaved by secular idealogies – Nazism and communism – than by all religions in history.”

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, mass killings of unimaginable proportions resulted not from religion, but from institutionalized atheism.  There were 66 million wiped out under Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev; between 32 and 61 million Chinese killed under communist regimes since 1949; one third of the 8 million Khmers – 2.7 million people – were killed between 1975 and 1979 under the communist Khmer Rouge.

And notice that these massive numbers don’t even include the approximately 6 million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during World War II (something which is fresh in the hearts and minds of my family as we visited the National Holocaust Museum while in Washington D.C.)  While some would claim that Hitler was a Christian, I believe the facts show otherwise.  While Hitler was raised in the church and gave lip service to God while rising to power, once he was in power he sought to eliminate the church and replace it with worship of him as the Fuhrer. (See

As Koukl says, “The greatest evil has not come from people zealous for God. It has resulted when people are convinced there is no God they must answer to.”

What’s more, even when violence and hate are carried out by those claiming to be of God, that does not necessarily mean that that hate can be laid at the feet of God or that religious faith.  There are evil people in all walks of life and, speaking of Christianity in particular, since violence and hate are not religious duties for Christians  and are not a part of the teachings of Christ, then violence and hate carried out by someone claiming to be identified with him, cannot be blamed on him, as he would condemn it.

JesusOnCross_01We live in a fallen, sinful world.  I know that I am selfish and sinful.  I’m thankful that Jesus gave his life on the cross for us to take care of our sin problem.  He loved us so much that, though we have sinned against each other and God himself, Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose again from the dead so we can be forgiven.  Now out of gratitude and love in return, I and large numbers of others, though we do fail, seek to live in his ways and share his love with others.

And so in this fallen world I pray that you will look to him, for he is our hope.  He is the reason for my hope and I believe he is he hope of the world.  One day when he returns, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).


Souces: Tactics by Greg Koukl; Ultimate Issues, July 1989 by Dennis Prager

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Faith and Questions

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Faith and Questions

People come to faith in different ways.  I had grown up going to church but by my early teens I didn’t really see what it had to do with me.  It was just that boring thing you had to do on Sunday mornings.  I’m a geek and was into science and scifi and I figured that science would explain it all.  I didn’t really know if I believed in God at all anymore.  At the same time I didn’t really see a purpose for my life and it was pretty empty.

Suddenly it Made Sense

Then when I was a sophomore in high school I went to an event where the speaker explained what Christianity was really all about.  It wasn’t just some list of do’s and don’ts. He explained that God loved me and wanted to know me personally.  And though my sins (something I wouldn’t deny having) separated me from Him, God came to earth as a man, in Jesus Christ, and he died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.  He did that  so I could be forgiven and have a personal relationship with him.

Suddenly the light bulb came on.  That’s why he died!  I had seen the cross at the front of the church my whole life but for the first time I understood why he came and why he died on it.

What’s more, he was alive again and wanted to know me!  It made sense and I prayed to receive Christ as my savior that night and my life has never been the same since.  I now had hope and a purpose.


But while what I heard was enough for me and moved me that night, I would come to have more questions.  How did I know this was really true?  Yes, it moved me and met a need but a lot of people have heard different religious messages and have been moved and have felt a need met.  So how do I know Christianity is true?  Islam presents a different way to God, as does Judaism, Hinduism and others.  For that matter, how do I know for sure there really is a God?

 It’s not enough that what I believe makes me feel good.  Is it true?  Because if it isn’t true, what good is it going to do me in the end?  And so I needed to examine the evidence.  Would Christianity stand up to examination?

 If you’re a Christian maybe you’ve had some of the same questions.  If you don’t happen to feel a need to examine your faith in this way, you should at least know that a lot of the people around you, that you want to share with, will have these kinds of questions.  They are looking  for satisfying answers to their questions.

Jesus and Evidence

Thankfully, from what I see in the Bible, Jesus is quite open to people examining the evidence for his claims.  He knows that most of us have a need to do so and he was happy to provide such evidence.

As Jesus went on through his ministry he became more and more clear in his claims to be God.  He even made the bold claim to be the only way to God the Father (John 14:6).  But Jesus knew that these claims were big and he didn’t just expect people to believe them just because he said so.  He provided evidence.

Jesus’ miracles backed up his claims.  He did things only God could do (healing diseases, giving sight to blind, enabling the lame to walk).  Further, Jesus appealed to people to believe on the basis of the evidence.  He said,

“Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.  But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)

His miracles backed up his claims and then he died on the cross and after that provided the clearest evidence of all that he really is God.  He rose again from the dead and appeared to and convinced many people that he was alive again (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Having been convinced, the Apostle Peter faced the crowd in Jerusalem after this all took place and said,

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs,which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:22-24)

Acts 17:31 says that God proved to the world who Jesus is by raising him from the dead.

God understand our questions and He welcomes them.  He isn’t threatened by them because Christianity stands up to examination.

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