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

Must Groups Require Leaders That Stand Against Their Beliefs?

It was brought to my attention today that a Christian student group has been "de-recognized" from San Jose University because they require that its leaders adhere to the groups beliefs and practices. Here is the report directly from the Christian group: Ratio Christi Club Kicked Off of San Jose State University Campus

This is an action that has dire consequences for all groups, not just religious. All other groups (regardless of affiliation, liberal or not) should be concerned about logical implications of this decision. Logically it opens the door to any group being required to allow leaders that not only do not represent the beliefs and convictions of the group, but that stand in direct opposition to them. For example: an atheist group could be led by a Christian; a pro-choice group could be led by a pro-life proponent; a Democrat group could be led by a Republican; a LGBT group could be led by a supporter of the Westboro Baptists.

The whole purpose of groups is to have a collection of people to support each other. These people must hold common convictions to do so. The leaders especially must hold the common convictions if they are to lead the support of the group. Without the common convictions among members and leadership the group will lose its purpose and reason for existence from within. The group will eventually disintegrate because there is nothing holding them together.

This could be a veiled attack against the right of assembly by attacking the very foundations of what a "group" is. A subtle way to squash opposition (academic or otherwise) seems to be in play here. Every group that assembles is in danger by this decision. This action is not something that ANY group should be excited to see happen...except those who are irrational, illogical and driven by their emotions. (Un)fortunately, one misstep by those groups will compromise their own group and convictions by the "reasoning" they are now championing.

📚Book Review: Questioning the Bible: 11 Major Challenges to the Bible's Authority🤯


The Bible's authority is constantly under attack in today's culture. It is important that Christians prepare themselves to address the challenges for their own faith and for overcoming intellectual challenges in their evangelistic efforts. Jonathan Morrow's new book "Question the Bible: 11 Major Challenges to the Bible's Authority" (KindlePaperback, Video) aims to be an introductory resource for the Christian to rise to these challenges at an intellectual level.

The book's 234 pages are divided by the eleven challenges and appendices. Morrow also includes, at the end of each chapter, a three-point summary, questions to spur discussion, and a short list of resources for more in-depth research into the challenges and their resolutions. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary and conclude with the reviewer's overall impression and recommendation.

5 Threats Of Demanding Certainty To Change Your Beliefs

With the continual exposure to scientific, historical, and philosophical evidence for God's existence, I am continually reminded of just how strong the case for God is, in general, and the truth of Christianity specifically. Often times I wonder how someone can have enough faith to be an atheist. It is often claimed by skeptics of God's existence, and specifically the intelligent design argument, that it is best to not conclude the necessity of a designer until all naturalistic possibilities have been exhausted. This seems to provide a safe, reasonable haven for the skeptic faced with the evidence. But is it really reasonable and thus, safe? What are the implications of this claim? I want to take a few minutes to examine the reasonableness of this escape route.

There exists three possible explanations for natural phenomena: chance, necessity, and design. If chance and necessity are eliminated, then there is no other option except design. The skeptic's claim reacts to the design proponents' attempts to rule out chance. As long as humanity does not reach omniscience and research continues, the appeal to what we do not yet know prevents us from being certain that the decision to remove chance from the table of options is correct. While this does seem to make sense, five threatening implications do come to mind that should make us question its reasonableness.

The Threat to Everyday Decisions
First, certainty of the accuracy of our decisions is rarely obtained prior to the decision and less often demanded before making a decision. Most decisions that we will make affect the future in some way. Because we do not know all the current events that will intersect with our decision, we cannot be certain that our decision is the right one. However, it is rare that the lack of certainty will prevent us from making a decision. Most of the time we will base our decision on evidence of what may be the best option. We do not allow the lack of certainty of the correct option to prevent us from disregarding the others and acting upon the most reasonable of the options.

The Threat to Sincerity of Requests for Evidence
Second, skeptics often request "extraordinary" evidence for the existence of a designer. An example that comes to mind is "if it were written in the stars 'Christianity is true,' then I'd believe." While this particular request to be demonstrated by playing "connect the dots" on a high resolution image of the galaxy, one could easily escape their commitment if more difficult requests were met by simply saying, "we cannot rule out chance because not all natural explanations have been investigated." Thus the demand for certainty to remove chance makes the request for extraordinary evidence more of an insincere demand. All evidence presented for God's existence, no matter how strong, could be disregarded.

The Threat to Reason
Third (almost), the implication of the second does not only apply to evidence for God's existence, but it can be applied to anything, reinforcing the implication of the first. Not only would this prevent us from making a decision, it would also prevent us from changing our minds about anything. We could overcome any objection to any belief we have by merely observing that no one is omniscient and that the lack of certainty does not mean that our view has necessarily been shown to be wrong, thus we are justified in maintaining it. The less evidentially-supported belief is maintained despite the evidence against it and/or the more evidence for an alternative view, and this is praised as being more reasonable than changing the mind.

The Threat to Scientific Research
The lack of certainty and reason are used to make the skeptic's view practically indubitable, which (fourth) implies that all investigation and research is merely for confirmation of current beliefs, with no real interest in discovering what is true or changing one's beliefs and practices to reflect reality. Included in that is the understanding that one already has all the correct beliefs (practical omniscience), making investigation and research actually a waste of time, money, energy, and other valuable resources.

The Threat to Itself
Finally, the practice of using the lack of certainty to avoid the more evidentially-supported option or to affirm the less evidentially-supported option necessarily removes the idea of NOT doing so from the table of reason...but THAT cannot be valid on this view, for we are not omniscient and do not have certainty that this practice is the better one. Anyone who says that they are reasonably holding to a view, because the lack of certainty allows it to remain on the table despite the evidence, has not applied that same reasoning to the reason they made the decision. For if they did, they would no longer have a reasonable reason to do so. Ultimately, this reasoning self-destructs. If an idea self-destructs, it cannot be true, and any idea that is not true is not wise to act upon.

The evidence for God's existence and the truth of Christianity piles up day after day. Yet skeptics still believe that they can reasonably escape the conclusion by exploiting the fact that no challenger knows everything, thus cannot possess certainty to remove all options from the table of possibility except the one they wish to convince the skeptic is true. However, this reasoning necessarily implies five threats that cannot be ignored. If this reasoning is practiced, then these five implications must be accepted to remain logically consistent. However, the implications are too great to accept (not to mention the impossible one), thus it is best to refrain from using the lack of certainty to avoid unpalatable conclusions.

Book Review: The Bible Among The Myths

Book Review: "The Bible Among The Myths" by John N. Oswalt


It is quite common to hear or see people include the Bible as just another piece of ancient near east mythology that may be rejected as having no applicability to reality. John Oswalt decided to investigate this claim and address it directly in his book The Bible Among The Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? (Kindle, softcover, promo video). This book comes to me by recommendation of several people, and the introduction alone sparked great excitement to dig in quickly and deeply. This review will be a chapter-by-chapter summary and will include some of my concluding thoughts.

Part 1: The Bible and Myth

Chapter 1: The Bible In Its World

Oswalt begins by providing the historical context. He takes the reader quickly through Greek philosophy, which was based on the idea that something cannot be and not be at the same time (the law of non-contradiction). The Greek philosophers struggled (and lost) for acceptance of this radical idea in their culture. At roughly the same time the Hebrew idea of a single God, who created the universe, (an idea also unique among cultures of the time) was under attack in the mind of the very people who carried the tradition because of the rising military powers, which affirmed contradicting theologies, that eventually overtook the nature of Israel. However, this "set the stage" for Jesus Christ to come on the scene and bring these two culturally independent yet correct understandings of reality together into one consistent worldview that is now known as "Christianity." A single God, who created the universe, is the metaphysical foundation for the law of non-contradiction that his creation (and the rest of reality, for that matter) adheres to. The Christian worldview was necessary for logic and science to fully develop and fully function (seemingly) independently. 

Falsifiability and Faith: Finding Truth Amid Worldview Debates

It is quite common to be in discussions about worldviews and scientific evidence and the issue of falsifiability comes up. Usually, one side offers several pieces of evidence that they believe shows the other worldview to be false, but the other person has a logical answer to rebut their claims of incompatibility. The skeptic, in frustration, often claims that the opposing view is therefore "unfalsifiable" on the adherent's view. The skeptic believes that the other person is somehow cheating and denying the possibility that their worldview could be falsified. For if something is not falsifiable, then it cannot be considered scientific (and is often labeled as "pseudoscience"). The term "unfalsifiable" is tossed around a lot, but it is unclear whether those hurling it at their "opponents" actually know what it means or how to properly apply it to the opposing worldview (or their own). So today I want to take some time to examine falsifiability to clear up some misconceptions.

Book Review: Programming of Life

Book Review: "Programming of Life" by Donald E. Johnson (http://programmingoflife.com)


"Programming of Life" by Donald E. Johnson (paperbackvideo, quotes) came to my attention fairly recently. The prospect of a case for God's existence being made from my area of training (computer science) especially caught my attention. The fact that the author is formally trained in both information science and biochemistry seemed to give him a unique set of credentials to authoritatively compare the code in DNA to computer programming code. The book is short at only 127 pages (included appendixes) and is divided into nine chapters. This review will be a chapter-by-chapter summary, but should not be confused with providing Johnson's case comprehensively or precisely.

11 Quotes From Ravi Zacharias On Humanity's Predicament

"When we look into the human heart we see the lust, the greed, the hate, the pride, the anger, and the jealousies that are so destructive. This is at the heart of the human predicament, and the Scriptures call this condition sin."

"The more we see the unconscionable ends to which the human spirit can descend when it is determined to remain autonomous, the more our confidence in human methods diminishes."

"None of us like the concept of law because none of us like the restraints it puts on us. But when we understand that God has given us his law to aid us in guarding our souls, we see that the law is for our fulfillment, not for our limitation. The law reminds us that some things, some experiences, some relationships are sacred. When everything has been profaned, it is not just my freedom that has been lost-- the loss is everyone's. God gave us the law to remind us of the sacredness of life, and our created legal systems only serve to remind us of the profane judgments we make."

Book Review: Navigating Genesis 📖

Book Review: "Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey through Genesis 1-11" by Christian astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe (reasons.org)


I was introduced to astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross (president of Reasons to Believe) in the early 90's but did not really begin investigating his model of origins until the mid 2000's when my view of origins and my Christian worldview was beginning to be challenged by observations of scientists in many different disciplines. I was hit by the higher critics who wished to interpret Genesis in a metaphorical (and not historical) light. Some of their points seemed valid, but others were questionable. I found Dr. Ross' approach of integrating all of Scripture with all the sciences quite intellectually attractive. It offered the possibility to reconcile the findings of modern science and the research of the higher critics with the Genesis accounts. However, before I was willing to change my view of origins from young-earth (universe is 6,000 - 10,000 years old), despite the observational evidence, I had to see a proper interpretive treatment of the Genesis accounts of creation that recognized them as historical events, granted the poetic writing style, understood the ancient cultural context, and consistently preserved all the essentials of Christian theology (including original sin and Christ's atonement). All those requirements have been satisfied, and "Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey Through Genesis 1-11" (paperback, Kindle, GoodReads, Small Group Study, Dr. Ross' Response to AiG) shows how it is accomplished through a careful examination of the Genesis accounts. 

7 Quotes From Ken Samples on Christianity's Explanatory Power

"The truth that there is an infinite, eternal, and personal mind behind the realities of the universe that can be detected through human reflection is the most transformative Christian apologetics idea in history. Christianity's explosive explanatory power and scope extends to such human enterprises as philosophy, psychology, science, religion, the arts, history, law, education, labor, economics, and medicine."

"The laws of nature exhibit order, patterns, and regularity. Because a personal God designed the universe to reflect his inherent rationality, the world exhibits elegant order, detectable patterns, and dependable regularity. These teleological qualities are essential to the nature of science because they make self-consistent scientific theories possible."

Quote philosopher Kenneth (Ken) Samples: "The laws of nature exhibit order, patterns, and regularity. Because a personal God designed the universe to reflect his inherent rationality, the world exhibits elegant order, detectable patterns, and dependable regularity. These teleological qualities are essential to the nature of science because they make self-consistent scientific theories possible."

"Just as a detective builds a case by adding evidence, or a physician arrives at a diagnosis by considering multiple symptoms and tests, anyone can arrive at a meaningful conclusion based on a cumulative case. One of the strongest evidences that Christian theism's truth-claims are correct rests in its ability to account for and justify the many diverse and undeniable realities of life."

"In their heart, people experience the pull of moral duty. This sense of moral oughtness is prescriptive in nature, and it transcends mere subjective feelings. Individuals may deny, rationalize, or even violate their moral obligations, but those obligations remain a necessary part of human life."

"By describing human beings as fallen sinners, Scripture possesses explanatory power and scope that other holy books and secular philosophies of life clearly lack. In other words, historic Christianity's description of human nature and actions corresponds to reality. The Bible accurately pegs the person in the mirror."

Quote philosopher Kenneth (Ken) Samples: "By describing human beings as fallen sinners, Scripture possesses explanatory power and scope that other holy books and secular philosophies of life clearly lack. In other words, historic Christianity's description of human nature and actions corresponds to reality. The Bible accurately pegs the person in the mirror."

"God appears to be more concerned about his children's character than about their comfort, therefore he uses evil and suffering to facilitate the believer's moral and spiritual maturity."

"Apart from God, we cannot fulfill our function and purpose in life because we were specifically created through the imago Dei to know, love, and serve our Creator."

These quotes were gleaned as I read Ken Samples' book "7 Truths That Changed The World." See my full review here.

Man's Fallible Ideas vs. God's Infallible Word


Those who have read this blog for quite some time know that I spend a lot of time discussing specifics of the Christian worldview, not just a "mere Christianity." Going into the details of a worldview allows people to test worldviews against reality to see which one accurately describes the world in which we live. As discussed in other posts (here and here), it is important to discuss and investigate the details of a worldview to ensure that when we defend the truth of the Christian worldview, we are not defending incorrect doctrines that can easily be shown to go against reality (thus falsifying the Christian worldview in the skeptic's mind).

These internal debates are often heated among Christians. All sides of a debate bring their biblical, natural, philosophical, and historical evidences for their view and against the others. The amount of evidence to wade through can be daunting, and it frustrates many. I have noticed that frustration, however, is not just from the amount of evidence to examine, but the weight of evidence for one side or the other. Often many find themselves on the lighter end of evidence. Their evidence has been shown to be misinterpreted by them, incomplete in the details, compatible with the other views, falsified by new research, or even not applicable to the discussion at hand. This is extremely frustrating when the majority of the evidence for one side fails by one these. Unfortunately, I have heard the people with the undermined evidence make an appeal that often has more rhetorical power than intellectual honesty: "Stop reinterpreting the Bible, and stop compromising the Gospel." This is often followed with the question, "why would you want to believe the ideas of fallible man and not the truth of an infallible God," in order to ensure that the reader/hearer understands that if they reject this view (despite the compromised evidence) they are committing a most heinous sin, tantamount to apostasy and heresy.

3 Good Reasons to Question What You Believe


Many people like to ask questions, and not just basic questions that get us through day-to-day life, but questions that go beyond our basic routines. Questions that examine who we are, why we are here, from where have we come. Questions that are on all our minds, but many fear to ask. Some are afraid they may discover something they do not like; some are afraid they may offend another's answers to the same questions; some do not believe the questions can be answered with any level of confidence; and some do not believe that such questions are even legitimate to ask. Unfortunately, those fears often prevent people from asking the deeper questions, and they either struggle quietly with them or ignore them altogether.

When confronted with deep questions, we are forced to reexamine what we ultimately believe. Often they cause doubt about what we have held dear and what we have dedicated our lives to. These challenges are difficult to overcome, and many times understanding the reasons why truly wrestling with the deeper questions is preferable to not doing so will go a long way to help us overcome our reluctance to enter the struggle. Today I want to discuss three reasons why it is important that every person questions what they believe.

9 Quotes From Stephen McAndrew on Relativism

This is a collection of some of my favorite quotes from the book Why It Doesn't Matter What YOU Believe If Its Not True by author Stephen McAndrew. My review of the book may be found here.

"We are fed ideas in small sound bites that are really just the conclusions of particular beliefs. We do not examine what underpins these sound bites. If the sound bites are presented by a source we are accustomed to accepting as true, there is a danger we will assimilate the conclusion without knowing, or caring, whether it is based on solid arguments and assumptions."

"In order to discover truth it is necessary to coldly dissect and examine all of our prejudices and inherent biases to ensure we receive unbiased answers. This takes effort. It is always easier to simply accept the ideas presented to us than to question the status quo."

"Given our obsession with self, it is hardly surprising we think it is fine for us to live in a world with malleable moral markers, as long as we get our own way without being bullied by others into accepting their way of doing things. We want others to respect moral boundaries that we want to be free to ignore when it suits."

"If the freedom to do as we please is extended to everyone, we lose our freedom. Inevitably, our desire will clash with the desires of others. In the event of such conflict, the strongest individual could impose his or her wishes on those weaker than him or her. So, if we are the weaker party whose wishes have come into conflict with the desires of a stronger party, we will lose out. Everything is permissible, but not everything is possible without power."

"Each of us would like the ability to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, without incurring the moral approbation of others. We, however, tend to conveniently forget this also gives others the right to do whatever they want."

"If truth and moral values are relative, one cannot claim that certain human rights are universally applicable to all cultures and all people."

"If truth is contingent upon the society in which we live...there is nothing intuitive or universally or absolutely true about freedom from torture or freedom from slavery; our society just happens to have come up with these values over time."

"The reason many are loathe to acknowledge the possibility of absolute truth is not simply because they do not wish to accept the possibility of the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing deity. It is because they do not want to accept the consequences that follow from the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing deity as the source of absolute moral truth."

"Christianity tells us we have free will. God has provided man with a choice whether to believe in Him or not. If God's existence were logically inescapable, there would be no free will to choose whether or not to believe in Him."

Book Review: The Case For Life

"The Case for Life" by pro-life/anti-abortion apologist Scott Klusendorf (prolifetraining.org)

***With the recent SCOTUS overturn of Roe v. Wade, the publisher has released the PDF version of "The Case For Life" for free. Click or tap the link to get your copy (I'm not sure how long it will be available).***


I have been quite excited to read Scott Klusendorf's "The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture" (paperback, Kindle, GoodReads, Video Trailer, Interview, Life Training Institute). From my elementary school days, I have been exposed to pro-life Christians who have faced ridicule, fines, physical harm, and even jail time for their commitment to the unborn's right to life. It was not until my exposure to Christian apologetics that I became aware that the fight was more than each side just emoting at one another. In this book, Klusendorf provides the scientific case for the humanity of the unborn and the objective moral wrongness of killing them. He addresses many common and powerful challenges to the prolife position. The book is divided into four parts and is 243 pages in length. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary then conclude with my comments. But before I get to my review, check out this introduction to the book from the author in his own words:

Frozen- The Eyewitness of "No Greater Love"

Okay, I know everyone with or without little girls in their life is probably tired of seeing stuff about Frozen...but please bare with me on this one.

Before I go into any content about this movie, I want to warn the reader that there are major spoilers in this post. A thorough examination of the message behind the movie is not the intention of this post, rather I want to focus on one important detail in the movie that has value for understanding the force behind the eyewitness testimony of Jesus' disciples. If you have not seen Frozen yet, please do. The main force behind what is written below is best read in the context of having seen the film first.

Homosexuality, Intolerance, and Mozilla

"Inclusivism" In The Tech Industry
The last couple of weeks have seen some interesting controversy in the technology industry. Its not over technical standards or best practices, but rather over politics and worldviews. Recently Brendan Eich (former CTO of Mozilla- the creators of the Firefox web browser) was promoted to the position of CEO. Shortly after that it became known that he made a donation a few years ago to support the passing of Proposition 8 (a proposal to ban gay marriage) in California. This, of course, stirred much controversy around Eich and his political views. He and Stephen Shankland (CNET) discussed the potential effects this controversy could have on the Mozilla company here.

Eich was careful to hold his ground while explaining that Mozilla has historically held inclusivism in high value. He pointed to the fact that Mozilla has international offices in parts of the world that generally disagree with the pro-homosexual position. Throughout the conversation Eich implied that Mozilla's inclusivism included those who dissented from the pro-gay lobby. He even said:

10 Quotes From Dr. Hugh Ross on Why The Universe Is The Way It Is

This is a collection of my favorite quotes from the book Why The Universe Is The Way It Is by astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross. My full review of the book may be read here. For more information about the work of Dr. Ross, please visit Reasons to Believe.

Investigating Reality
"Humans...wonder about everything: tangible and intangible, tiny and huge, near and far, the past and the future as well as the present- the how and why of everything both in this universe and beyond. Human curiosity knows no boundaries, and many individuals will pay any price, even lose their own lives, to satisfy it."

"I'm firmly convinced we can know enough. Not enough to end all questions, but enough to make sense of our lives. We can build a cosmic perspective solid enough to remain firm yet flexible enough to absorb the impact of new discoveries."

Problem of Evil
"Nothing seems to perplex humanity as much as the subject of evil. Some say the existence of evil is a paradox wrapped in an enigma enshrouded in mystery embedded in riddle implanted in a puzzle inside a giant maze."

"From the moment spiritual death (autonomy from God) invaded creation physical death became a blessing, an avenue through which God could temper the outbreak of evil and suffering."

Teleology (Design)
"Astronomers' observations show that in the context of the laws of physics, the Earth, Moon, solar system, Milky Way Galaxy, and Local Group- indeed the entire universe are all perfectly designed to provide a wonderful, bountiful home for humanity."

"Many conditions necessary for human existence and beneficial to quality of life are also time critical. The fact that these features...all converge simultaneously at the moment human beings arrive on the planet defies realistic probability. One favorable time window's alignment with even one other window might be considered an astounding coincidence. But the lineup of so many independent time windows with the brief human moment on the cosmic calendar speaks powerfully of purpose."

"The optimization of cosmic darkness and of Earth's location within the dark universe that sacrifices neither the material needs of human beings nor their capacity to gain knowledge about the universe reflects masterful engineering at a level far beyond human capability-  and even imagination. It testifies of a supernatural, superintelligent, superpowerful, fully deliberate Creator."

"If the universe were any smaller or larger, younger or older, brighter or darker, more or less efficient as a radiator, and if human observers were located where most stars and planets reside, the view would be so blocked as to give few (if any) clues about what lies beyond."

"This degree of fine-tuning is so great that it's as if right after the universe's beginning someone could have destroyed the possibility of life within it by subtracting a single dime's mass from the whole of the observable universe or adding a single dime's mass to it."

"Innumerable conditions must be exquisitely optimized for the support of humanity and of civilization. Many of them are highly time variable. Evidence showing that a wide variety of independent conditions all reached optimality during the identical narrow epoch when human beings appeared on the cosmic and terrestrial scene testifies of supernatural design and purpose rather than mere coincidence."

More quotes from Dr. Ross may be found here:
13 Quotes From Hugh Ross on Biblical Inerrancy, Interpretation, and Authority

Are Nature and Scripture Compatible?

The debate about the proper interaction of science and theology is raging as much as it has ever been. Hot tempers fly that result in ice-cold relationships. For as much discussion and debate that takes place, it seems that nothing is being accomplished. For those caught in the middle, questions still remain unanswered:

  • What do we do when science contradicts our theology or our theology contradicts science? 
  • Are they allowed to contradict? 
  • If not, which should I choose?
  • Can't they just agree to disagree? 
These are all questions that shaped my spiritual struggle several years ago. I was constantly told that I could not trust science because it contradicted my theology, and at the same time I was told that I could not trust theology because it denied science. I felt like I had a choice: live a double life- allowing one source of truth (religion) in one area of reality, but not allowing it relevance in the other areas. Or I could completely deny one of them as a valid source of truth, giving up my theology completely, or giving up science completely.

How could I live what I do not believe, and how could I deny what I know to be true? These further haunting questions demanded answers yet seemed unanswerable. Neither hypocrisy nor denial are very appealing traits. Unfortunately these are often presented as the only options available in our search for the true worldview. In this post, my goal is to present a compelling alternative that grants that science and theology are valid sources of truth that often overlap in the aspects of reality that they claim to explain. I will also put forth a method for dealing with conflicts in the overlapping areas and explain the liabilities of not dealing with such conflicts.

Book Review: The Message Behind The Movie

Book Review: "The Message Behind the Movie: How to Engage With a Film Without Disengaging Your Faith" by Douglas Beaumont


Movies are an interesting part of today's culture. They address hot issues by connecting to people through the arts. They are the products of fallen people created in God's Image thus they will contain both good and bad elements, with imbalances on both sides. Many Christians do not think very deeply about these realities of this form of entertainment, so they often take extreme views of either over-indulgence or avoidance, and few see movies as open opportunities to discuss the Gospel with skeptics.

In his book "The Message Behind the Movie: How to Engage With A Film Without Disengaging Your Faith" (Paperback and Kindle) Doug Beaumont attempts to address these issues. He divided the book into three "Acts" that deal with cinematic theory, evangelical application, and personal application. The book is subdivided into eleven chapters and is a mere 159 pages. This review is intended to be a chapter-by-chapter summary to give the potential reader a taste of the book's content.

Is Theism Well-Defined Enough To Be Scientifically Testable?

Science and the Bible


In February 2014 philosopher William Lane Craig and theoretical physicist Sean Carroll debated the rationality of believing God exists given the evidence in cosmology (the video can be found here). On several occasions Carroll observed that "theism" is not well-defined, and thus does not lend itself to scientific testing by putting forth falsifiable predictions. William Lane Craig (both at the beginning of the debate and at other times) affirmed that he was not putting forth God as an alternative to naturalistic models, but was scientifically defending the truth of premises in an argument with theological significance. Both debaters seemed to misunderstand one another regarding this. Craig did not give any indication of understanding the scientific concern of Carroll's observation by dismissing the idea that God was even a feature of a competing model, while Carroll did not seem to understand the philosophical insignificance of his charge or the fact that Craig was defending a mere theism that only identified God as "Creator" and "Designer."

I have heard Carroll's challenge on several occasions from scientifically-minded people who are critical of cosmological and teleological arguments for God's existence. Since they dismiss Christianity (and theism, in general) as an unscientific hypothesis, my intent with this post is to investigate the scientific perspective that is responsible for this complaint, the philosophical significance and insignificance of the complaint, and the proper response that theists (and Christians, specifically) should provide to remove the validity of the charge of being "unscientific." I will conclude the post with a challenge to both naturalists and Christians, and I will revisit the debate in light of this discussion.

💬 Favorite Quotes: Cold Case Christianity 🕵

This is a collection of some of my favorite quotes from the book Cold Case Christianity by author J. Warner Wallace of ColdCaseChristianity.com. My review of the book may be found here. For more resources from Wallace and information about the book, check out ColdCaseChristianity.com.

General Apologetics (Christian Case-Making)

"In a culture where image is more important than information, style more important than substance it is not enough to possess the truth. Case makers must also master the media."

"All of us ought to be willing to argue the merits of our case without resorting to tactics unbecoming of our worldviews."

"While we are often willing to spend time reading the Bible, praying, or participating in church programs and services, few of us recognize the importance of becoming good Christian case makers."

"We need to master the facts and evidences that support the claims of Christianity and anticipate the tactics of those who oppose us. This kind of preparation is a form of worship. When we devote ourselves to this rational preparation and study, we are worshiping God with our mind, the very thing He has called us to do (Matt. 22:37)."

Is Animal Death Really Evil?

Within Christian circles a large debate is taking place regarding the age of the earth. One of the contentions that young-earth creationists (YECs) promote is that millions of years of animal suffering and death before sin entered the world (The Fall) is incompatible with Christianity because animal death is evil and not compatible with God's declaration that the creation was "very good.". A while back I wrote a post explaining that too often man anthropomorphizes animals, and that is the source of our belief that all suffering of animals is evil. In that post I explain that what could ground the idea that the animals suffering (over millions of years before man came on the scene) was evil was if animals were moral beings (via being created in the Image of God). Since they are not moral beings, they cannot commit moral (evil) acts. Since they cannot commit morally evil acts, suffering of the animals as the result of other animals was and is not morally evil.

However, that is only part of the story. I did not speak much on natural evil or man's treatment of animals as moral or natural evil. Recently a commenter asked that I speak to these issues to help further show logical compatibility of my old-earth creation (OEC) view, with biblical Christianity.

Book Review: Doubting

Doubting by Alister McGrath


It is often understood that defending the faith is not just for the sake of evangelism, but it is also useful to strengthen the Christian's faith during the tough times of life. These tough times often cause doubt. But this reviewer has found that simply giving a logical answer is not always the way to help someone with doubt. The book Doubting: Growing Through The Uncertainties of Faith by Alister McGrath was recommended as a good resource on dealing with the other aspects of doubt that this reviewer was looking to be able to address. It is a shorter book at only 151 pages divided into eleven chapters. This review will provide a short chapter-by-chapter summary to introduce the reader to the content, then it will conclude with the reviewer's thoughts.

Chapter 1: Doubt: What It Is - And What It Isn't

McGrath begins by clearing up a common misconception about doubt: that it is synonymous with skepticism (disbelief of everything) and unbelief (not believing in God); rather it is distinct. Doubt is composed of two interacting characteristics of humanity. Man is sinful; which causes him to want to distance himself from God; and man is not omniscient, which appears to give him a valid reason to realize that sinful desire. Since Christians will struggle with sin until death or the return of Christ, the Christian life will be a constant struggle with doubt. However, that doubt should not be seen as something to be feared (because it is sourced in sin), but an opportunity to learn more about our Savior and Creator (because it is sourced in a lack of knowledge) that will bring us into a closer relationship to Him.

Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye: The Aftermath

Debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham

Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye Debate- Introduction

Tonight Bill Nye and Ken Ham squared off on the topic "Is Creation a Viable Model for Origins In The Scientific Era?" Promoters of this debate have been promoting it as the "Debate of the Decade" and I had even heard the term "Scopes 2." Because I am a Christian and I disagree with Ken Ham's position on the age of the universe (I agree with Bill Nye, in that regard, but disagree with his worldview in general), it seems that I would be rooting for both or neither in the debate. Since I find that holding an incorrect view of reality (even within the confines of the correct general worldview) is damaging to defenses of the general worldview, I decided to watch this debate and offer my thoughts.

First, I want to state that I found that both participants were very respectful of one another so, it made the exchange easy to watch in that respect. What makes a debate more difficult to watch depends on the participants' ability to stay on topic and defend their contentions against critique. While I think that for the most part, they did stay on topic, there was a mix regarding their defense of particular parts of their contentions.

Should Christians Accept Secular Critique?

As humans we tend to prefer to listen to those who agree with us and avoid the discomfort of having our views challenged.We find this in all sorts of people who hold all sorts of different views- be they religious, philosophical, political, or whatever. As a child my most common exposure to this attitude was from those in the church. I remember one person pointing to scripture to affirm such an attitude:
Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual...The spiritual person can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone." 1 Corinthians 2:12-15 (HCSB)
It was offered that the wisdom of unsaved people is useless to me, and the wisdom that I offer them is foolish to them. I was led to believe that anytime an unbeliever challenged my view, that scripture encouraged me to completely disregard it and anything else the person had to say. After all, even a challenge that seemed genuine or logical was really to trick me into rejecting God: that is the agenda of the Enemy- the "Father of all lies." Even the consideration that something I believed might be wrong was a cause for alarm.

Natalie Grant, The Grammys, and Defending the Faith

The blogosphere and social media have been quite alive with chatter about Grammy-nominated Christian music artist Natalie Grant's early departure from this year's award show. There has been much speculation about the reason(s) and/or performance(s) that pushed her to her limit of tolerance for that evening. Her initial tweet that sparked the reactions is quoted here, and her recent response to the reactions is quoted here. Grant did not call out any particular performance or performer or provide any specific reason why she called it a night early, but she did state that she had no intention of using her platform for political issues that cause division rather than unity.

I am not going to go into a long analysis of this particular situation. However, I do want to take the time to look at one of my favorite works from Natalie Grant from the perspective of someone who defends the truth of the Christian worldview and show the connections with this situation.

Book Review: Christian Endgame

"Christian Endgame: Careful Thinking About The End Times" by Kenneth Samples


This reviewer writes quite often about the importance of internal theological discussions to apologists. Eschatology (end times) tends to be one of the most fascinating, heated, and damaging debates within the Church. As prophecy enthusiasts keep attempting to predict the date of Christ's return (and fail), it makes the Christian worldview appear to be falsified from the perspective of unbelievers. In order to address these challenges, it is important that Christians think carefully about eschatology. Kenneth Samples (Reasons to Believe) attempts to provide a starting point for responsible thought and discussion in his most recent book, "Christian Endgame: Careful Thinking About The End Times."

This is a short book of only 59 pages divided into eight chapters, plus three appendices. This review will provide an abbreviated chapter-by-chapter summary in an effort to not give away all the content of the book.

What I Expect of The Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Debate

It recently came to my attention that Ken Ham and Bill Nye will be debating the wisdom of teaching creationism in the classroom. While I agree with Ken Ham that Christianity is the correct worldview, and that creation does deserve to be examined, I do not support his specific view of creation (young-earth creationism or "YEC"). I have critiqued arguments for this view (here, here, and here), along with Ken Ham's tactics (here and here). And other than remembering Bill Nye's TV show in the 90's and a recent anti-creationism video, I'm not too familiar with him. What I have to say here will focus more on the content to be debated and possible ways it could go (along with a couple I expect from Ham based on my familiarity of his past exchanges).

Book Review: Agents Under Fire

"Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science" by Angus Menuge


This reviewer has long been interested in the discussions about the existence of agents. Since the teleological argument depends on the existence of design being a legitimate concept, and that being dependent upon the existence of agents, Angus Menuge's book "Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science" (Hardcover, GoodReads) was quite appealing. This reviewer balked at the price on Amazon, but it was given as a gift, and this reviewer was ecstatic delve into it immediately. The book is 215 pages divided into eight densely packed chapters. This review is designed to be a chapter-by-chapter summary to prepare the reader to tackle this challenging text.


Dr. Menuge begins the preface of the book by stating that his purpose behind writing Agents Under Fire is to defend the existence of agency (a non-natural entity capable of reasoning and purposing). He explains that this is a pivotal question in debates about intelligent design, for if there is no agency then there is no agents to design anything (to compare the "designs" in nature to)- design even is an illegitimate concept and should be completely discarded.

Menuge defines two key terms for understanding the book: Strong Agent Reductionism (SAR) and Weak Agent Reductionism (WAR). SAR represents a complete "explaining away" of agency by positing that all decisions are the results of natural cause-and-effect systems- no thought, reason, or purpose are involved in such systems. WAR attempts to explain agency in natural terms- making agency a product of nature. He then offers some quick points of critique of each, but saves the deeper content for later.

Following the definitions is a chapter-by-chapter summary that helps the reader get his or her bearings and recognize how the book will flow. Some people are tempted to skip prefaces of books, but this is a case where doing so will make following the book much more difficult.