God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Over-Protection, God and Evil

The other day I was reading an interesting article about parenting. It brought up two mistakes that today's parents often make that have crippled the next generation, and many of us. The specific points may shed some light on a couple of challenges that skeptics offer against Christianity.

The article is Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids...And How to Correct Them by Tim Elmore.

The article is written from a religiously agnostic perspective- Elmore makes no religious appeals to support his conclusions. The first two points in the article are what I want to focus on: the facts that parents are unwilling to takes risks with their kids and jump in too quickly to rescue their kids from "dangerous" situations.

Not Risky Enough
His first point about risks is simply that parents over-protect their kids. They do not allow their kids to do things that may cause even minor harm. Parents are too proactive in protecting children from harm that the children don't get the important experiences until they are in the real world and have no idea how to react appropriately. Elmore points out that this teaches our children that if there is a risk of any kind of danger, that the risk is too great- it is always better to be safe than sorry, even if the latter possibility is minuscule relative to the reward. This leads to not just a fear of physical activities, but also a fear of failure in general and an aversion to anything that is unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable. This also develops an expectation that when they take a risk, that buffers should always exist to prevent them from getting hurt if they do fail.

Convenient Explanations

A Convenient Explanation Offered
As a defender of Christianity I want to be sure that I am engaging with the most powerful evidence for opposing worldviews. Engaging with weak evidence tends to show that I am unaware of the more powerful evidence or simply cannot answer the more powerful evidence- both of which often would result in my arguing against a straw man. In so many of my discussions with fellow Christians about different worldviews I like to play "devil's advocate." This is my effort to inform them of the stronger evidence for opposing worldviews and give them some pointers for responding to what skeptics will use to show their worldview as true.

The other day I was in discussion with several friends about naturalism. We were discussing some of the weaknesses of the view from a scientific perspective. One person confidently offered a challenge and explained that there was no way for naturalism to explain the observations he cited. Now, I'm no supporter of naturalism; however, I explained to him how a naturalist could not only explain the observations, but that their models even predict the observation he cited. His response was a dismissive, "well, how convenient."

The Holy Spirit, Interpretation, And Evidence

As I have written in the past, engaging in debates on Christian theology is important for the apologist. In discussions of Christian doctrine and beliefs with fellow Christians, the correct interpretation of particular scriptures is vital. A few weeks ago I discussed the claim by people that I may be "twisting" scripture to mean what I believe is true. But today I want to spend a few minutes on a related accusation.

I have had many long and short interactions on proper interpretation. On a few-too-many occasions the person I have been engaging says that their interpretation was given to them by the Holy Spirit. The expected response from me is that I will concede my position (regardless of my evidence and reasoning for my interpretation) because "God has spoken."

Mourning With The Warren Family

Rick Warren and his wife lost their youngest son over the weekend. My heart goes out to them, and they will be in my prayers during this very difficult time. Please lift them up through your prayers and words of encouragement. It is only through Christ that we have hope and assurance that this is not the end. As we mourn with the Warren family, let it be our prayer that more will discover that through Jesus Christ, they too may experience the hope and assurance of eternal life with Him forever.

Book Review: The Only Wise God

Book Review: "The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom" by Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig

Review Introduction

This reviewer has long been fascinated with the debate about God's knowledge of the future and man's free will. William Lane Craig has done much theological and philosophical research into the attributes of God and the nature of time. He condensed his research into a relatively short and concise presentation that focuses specifically on how to reconcile the scriptural claims that God knows what every person will do, yet every person is free to do something else. The book is "The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom'. It is only 154 pages and is broken down into two parts with 12 bite-sized chapters.

Book Introduction

William Lane Craig prepares the reader for his presentation by distinguishing between determinism and fatalism. He recognizes that in the attempt to reconcile God's knowledge of future events with man's free will, many have decided to give up the pursuit and appeal to theological mystery- the idea that its not something we can know now, but will know when we get to heaven. He looks at the proper and improper use of mystery in Christianity and concludes that this debate does not need to end in an appeal to mystery.