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

Book Review: Person of Interest🕵

Person of Interest- Book Review Introduction

J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who, when he was an atheist, used his investigative skills to investigate the claims of Christianity. In recent years he has written several books describing his investigations and the results of those investigations. He investigated the claims that the gospels are eye-witness accounts of actual events ("Cold-Case Christianity"), the existence of God ("God's Crime Scene"), and the claim that Jesus and the New Testament writers encouraged a trust based not in evidence but in blind faith ("Forensic Faith"). 

Must Christians Love Everything "The Left" Criticizes? 🤔

Christians Analyzing "The Left"

Must Christians love everything that those who are not Christians criticize? Just because someone is not a Christian, does that require that they call everything good "evil" and everything evil "good"? I frequently come across both believers and unbelievers who think that the answer to these questions is Yes. 

Such agreement requires the view that man is so depraved that unless a person accepts Christ, their judgements of good and evil will always be wrong. On this view, a simple way to find the truth about any matter is to just affirm what is contradictory to what an unbeliever believes about the matter. Christians who hold this view apply this logic to different areas of knowledge including moral knowledge.

The Atheist's Moral Compass


"Inevitably, moral choices based on our own moral compass will often be wrong choices. And wrong moral choices can result in consequences ranging from minor disappointments to major disasters emotionally, relationally, physically, and spiritually."

This quote from Josh and Sean McDowell's book "The Beauty of Intolerance" was posted to social media a few weeks ago, and it sparked some interesting responses from atheists and agnostics. Here is one such response that I feel needs a bit of unpacking and a response. 

"Atheists and agnostics can still have a strong moral compass that is informed by reason, empathy, and a desire for human flourishing. In fact, many atheists and agnostics base their moral choices on the principles of humanism, which emphasizes the importance of compassion, rationality, and ethics in guiding our behavior."

Unconditional Love or Unconditional Affirmation?

Introduction- Unconditional Love or Unconditional Affirmation?

It is increasingly becoming popular in culture to think that unconditional affirmation of one's thoughts about themselves (identity), whether objectively true or not, is a necessary feature of unconditional love. The idea is that if you claim to unconditionally love someone, you will always affirm their identity and celebrate every action and behavior that reinforces their identity. If you do not affirm and celebrate, then it is impossible for you to unconditionally love that person.

This cultural idea, though, is increasingly showing its intolerance of even the slightest disagreement, even among those who generally agree on a modern view of tolerance. Those who have championed this view for years are now finding themselves splitting from each other along the lines of sexual identity- not just what they prefer but what they are. 

I believe that this newer cultural split and even the foundations of the modern tolerance movement are enabled due to a conflation between the meanings of "love" and "affirmation." Unless and until our culture distinguishes between them again, the modern tolerance movement will continue to splinter along ideological lines until every individual stands alone with neither the love nor affirmation of another. 

Why Doesn't God Reorder the Stars?

Why doesn't God reorder the stars to identify himself to me?

Introduction- Why Doesn't God Reorder The Stars?

It is not uncommon for atheists or agnostics to voice the demand that God show Himself by "reordering the stars to say 'I am Yahweh'" or something of that sort to positively identify Himself to them. This particular demand of God has always struck me illogical and hardly evidential. The reason why is because even I wouldn't accept such as evidence. The constellations are just playing "connect the dots" on a flat, two-dimensional surface where a three-dimensional volume exists. Any attempt to "connect the dots" to form a series of linguistic characters would have just as much meaning. More could be said on my challenges, but that is not the intention of this post. Rather my focus today is centered on these two questions: why would God reorder the stars to form a message that only you would understand, and why would He reorder the stars to form a message that only your people group would understand? 

Exclusivity of Human Languages

Languages and characters are exclusive by their nature. They are confined to time periods and even geographical locales. They exclude most everyone else in other time periods and in other cultures. To demand that God reorder the stars to form a message with characters and syntax only understandable to you or your group at a specific point in time (when that language developed) is to demand that God exclude the rest of humanity from the message. 

Inclusivity of the Book of Nature

Nature is the language that all people of all time can see and understand regardless of which written language they use (if they used one). Interestingly enough, God didn't reorder nature to speak to people, He ordered it that way from the beginning. A reordering is the result of reaction, while ordering is the result of proaction. God did not react to the voiced concern after atheists and agnostics thought it, He knew that expectation would be thought, not only by one person but by many people in many cultures of many languages in many time periods, and He proactively designed the universe to speak to every one of them. Interestingly enough, the ordering of the stars to speak this message is the very ordering that also allows humans to exist to even voice the demand, so the message is necessary to exist from the beginning.

God Heard Your Request From The Beginning

From the beginning, God took the inclusive route, which happens to also be the route that allows humans to exist. He has actually taken this request to reorder the stars and fulfilled it beyond the expectations of the atheist or agnostic who demands it. God fulfilled the expectation to answer all the atheists and agnostics regardless of the language they use to express the demand and the language they demand God use to fulfill it. 

God expands not only the audience but the features that are ordered. Not only ordering the stars but galaxies, galaxy clusters, and super galaxy clusters to form the message that is understandable to all who live(d). Not just doing it today but from the beginning. The Creator ordered the stars from the beginning of time to be readable by all people of all languages in all human history, not just the atheist or those who speaks that individual atheist's language.

The ancients merely looked up to see the stars and saw that the stars were the work of the Creator (e.g. Psalm 8:3, Amos 5:8, and Isaiah 40:26). Many modern people, though, are not content with just looking at the cosmos, they require more in-depth study. Recently I reviewed the book "Designed to the Core" by Christian astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross. He compiles numerous discoveries from the fields of cosmology and geology to show that God ordered the entire cosmos from the beginning of time to the present, from the largest scale structure to the core of our planet for life. Nature speaks in a language that all people of all languages can understand. Dr. Ross shows that God did order not just the stars but the groups of stars and even their planets so that humans could be alive to make such a demand of the Creator.  

Interestingly enough, God did not just order the features of the cosmos, He also ordered the very physical laws at the creation of the universe to allow for such an ordering of the cosmos. Hugh Ross describes this in his book "Creator And The Cosmos." And let's not stop at the cosmic level; let's go down to the biochemical level where biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana demonstrates such ordering as well: "Creating Life in The Lab" and "Fit For A Purpose".  

Conclusion- What Are You Looking For?

For those who have voiced this demand of the Creator, if you do not understand the message that the Creator has presented in nature, I invite you to read these books to help you translate, interpret, and understand how God fulfilled your request long ago far beyond your minimal requirements. If you do not wish to investigate the message, I do have to ask if you are truly looking for a message. With the existence of the shear number of characteristics ordered and scope of the audience, if the message is rejected, the request for a "message in my language" looks more like an illogical excuse than an evidential reason to reject the Creator of the universe. 

For more, I highly recommend these resources:

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Book Review: Designed To The Core


Christian astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross has been writing for decades on the scientific reasons to believe in the God of the Bible. He founded an organization called "Reasons to Believe" specifically geared towards evangelizing the scientifically-minded skeptic. I have been following his work for quite some time and always look forward to his latest book on the incredible evidence that scientists have discovered about the universe that point to the existence of God. Some of his books include: 

His latest book is titled Designed to the Core. In this review, I will give a quick summary of the book, some of my favorite quotes, a few of my thoughts about it, and finally my recommendations. 

The Dangers of Scientism to the Truth-Seeker

What Scientism Is Not- The Strawman

In discussions of the existence of God and the truth of Christianity, atheists are often understood and represented to hold to the idea of scientism. Scientism being the philosophical view that the study of nature (science) is the only valid source of truth about reality. In my conversations with atheists, though, if they start out affirming such a view, they usually concede it within a few minutes of my pointing out that everyone relies on knowledge outside the sciences all the time. There are a few hold-outs, but generally this is my experience. 

I recently reviewed J.P. Moreland's book "Scientism and Secularism" on this subject. One of the critiques that I have seen from many people (including both atheists and Christians) is that Moreland wasted time arguing against atheism using a misunderstanding of scientism. The charge is that he argued against a view that few atheists actually defend- a strawman. Of course, most atheists recognize that other sources of truth exist outside nature. They know, understand, and accept the defeaters presented by Moreland. 

Book Review: How To Read A Book

"How To Read A Book" by Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren

Book Review: How To Read A Book

So, this review has actually been a long time coming (we're talking years). I have been hearing of the benefits of reading this book to my own efforts in reading for well over a decade (thanks to Ken Samples of Reasons to Believe). Its been on my bookshelf for a while, but I have only recently taken the time to find out for myself. "How To Read A Book" by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren is a great resource to take your reading comprehension and interaction to the next level, truly make books your own, and expand your knowledge. The basic ideas that I have gleaned over the years have been helpful, but seeing the level of activity required in analytical reading (its not just passive) and the reasoning behind the need to be so active has been further enlightening. Today, I want to take you through same basic points, give you some quotes, and finally recommend the book (don't wait years, like I did). 

Is "Scientism" A Strawman of Atheists' and Scientists' Beliefs?

What Is Scientism?

Scientism is an epistemic philosophy that values science as the exclusive source of knowledge and truth about the whole of reality. Scientism is usually presented in two forms: strong and weak (though not always associated with those terms). The concept of strong scientism holds that knowledge cannot be obtained outside the sciences, so it holds all other disciplines as irrelevant to the pursuit of truth. Such disregarded disciplines are (but not limited to) history and philosophy (ironically). The main idea behind strong scientism is that if a claim cannot be tested by some form of the five senses, then it cannot yield truth. Strong scientism lends its adherent to an attitude of disdain and disregard for those in non-scientific fields who attempt to speak about reality based on their discoveries.

The concept of weak scientism holds that non-scientific disciplines are merely inferior to the sciences. If discoveries of reality from the other disciplines come into conflict with current thinking in the sciences, those discoveries are not allowed to judge or influence the interpretations of reality that come from the sciences. The other disciplines are always placed under the judgement of the sciences but never the other way around. The interpretations of reality that come from the sciences are valued over the other disciplines' discoveries and either denial of the data or reinterpretation of the other disciplines' discoveries is required. Discoveries from other disciplines are thus limited to what ever is implied by the interpretations already held in the sciences or what ever necessarily grounds those ideas. Everything else is judged false. 

While weak scientism articulates tolerance of other knowledge disciplines as opposed to the intolerance of other knowledge disciplines of strong scientism, the two versions ultimately result in the same thing. Weak scientism is just a detour to the same destination of strong scientism. 

Maintaining Scientism

I do not know anyone who actually defends strong scientism. Very few people who articulate a philosophy of strong scientism will maintain it after a few pointed questions are asked or observations are made. When the realization of the failure of strong scientism comes (whenever that is or was), the pivot is usually towards weak scientism. The person's goal in holding strong scientism was to place the sciences as the arbiter of truth, and weak scientism allows them to maintain that without the ludicrous claim that science is the only source of truth. 

Philosopher J.P. Moreland addresses this subject in his book "Scientism and Secularism." I reviewed it earlier this year and have seen many atheists and science-minded folks (on social media) toss it aside as simply rejecting a strawman of scientism. They limit Moreland's concept of scientism to the strong version and do not consider his focus on the weak version. The value of Moreland's work is not in its defeat of strong scientism (what no atheist or scientist defends- the strawman) but in its demonstration that weak scientism is a clever detour to the same destination as strong scientism. Moreland demonstrates that if those who claim to reject strong scientism reject it because of the epistemic limits it has to investigate large portions of reality, they are logically obligated to reject weak scientism as well. 

Quote from Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland from his book "Scientism and Secularism": "These days, if an accepted scientific claim comes into conflict with an accepted nonscientific claim from another discipline (such as theology), which claim must be set aside? In our culture, the scientific claim always wins. Why? Simply because it is scientific. Scientism seems so obvious and pervasive to people that it can be stated without any need to defend it. Appealing to science to back one's claim is a conversation stopper that settles the issue."

Moreland's point is that the obvious failure of strong scientism comes in its insistence that the whole of reality is testable via the five senses. What is not so obvious is that forcing discoveries made without the five senses to be judged by disciplines that are limited by the five senses results in the same thing- insisting that the whole of reality is testable via the five senses. 

Ironically, those who have rejected Moreland's work on the subject are guilty of their own accusation: rejecting a strawman. That strawman comes by the atheist's or scientist's limiting of Moreland's point to the already agreed-upon failure of strong scientism. They do not accept that Moreland accepts that they accept the failure of strong scientism. But it is that agreement that serves as the foundation for Moreland's focus: the defeat of weak scientism as well. 

Skip the Detour? 

Once the atheist or scientist can get past their own strawman, they can find great value in Moreland's work. What is interesting is that for those who wish to maintain the sciences as the arbiters of truth, Moreland actually makes the case for the extreme inefficiency of weak scientism. If the goal and the results are the same, why waste the resources required by the detour when they could be spent on scientific discovery? Many atheists and scientists have already made it through this line of reasoning as well (another agreement they may discover with Moreland). 

They recognize that the appearance of tolerance is inefficient and have doubled down on their strong scientism. But then they are jerked back to the reality of its failures. They are stuck between what they want reality to allow and what reality actually does allow or what they want people to believe that they believe and what they actually do believe.

Inefficiency Vs. Intolerance

As I said earlier, I do not know anyone who defends strong scientism (this includes atheists and scientists). However, I did not say that I do not know anyone who does not believe it. How is that combination possible? Because strong scientism cannot be defended. Those who believe it often change rhetoric from moment-to-moment, from tolerance (weak scientism) to ridicule (strong scientism). This lends proponents of strong scientism to accuse proponents of weak scientism of inefficiency, and it lends proponents of weak scientism to accuse proponents of strong scientism of intolerance. Some favor one or the other and spend more time in that rhetorical space, and you may hear them defend efficiency over tolerance or tolerance over efficiency, but you will never hear them include a solid defense of science as the sole arbiter of truth. Because of that, those who wish to maintain that science is the sole arbiter of truth are forced to pick their poison: inefficiency or intolerance. 

Moreland Has A Better Idea

Instead of choosing between either intolerance or inefficiency, why not reject the essential premise of both weak and strong scientism? If the atheist or scientist truly rejects the idea that the sciences are the sole source of truth, they never need to maintain (much less defend) the idea. Further, any accusation of inefficiency or intolerance regarding discovery of reality or non-scientific disciplines, respectively, will be false and indefensible. Ultimately, if the atheist or scientist rejects scientism they are freed from the rhetorical distractions and investigative limits, but they are faced with more uncomfortable challenge: a Divine foot is now in the door. Are atheists and scientists who currently insist upon scientism willing to allow this, or will they continue on their indefensible rejection of other sources of truth? 

To Investigate Further, I recommend these books:

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Book Review: Stealing From God

Stealing from God by Frank Turek

Book Review- Stealing From God by Frank Turek

It is quite common for atheists to claim that science and reason are completely on their side and rule out the possibility of God's existence. While it is to be expected that atheists would recognize that certain philosophical foundations exist in the world they (and we) live in, it is not necessarily expected that they would understand that their explanation of reality (without God) is incompatible with such realities. Laying out that explanation is the goal of Frank Turek's book "Stealing From God." In order to be a logically consistent atheist, many of reality's foundations must be denied. And if they do not wish to deny them, then they must steal those foundations from God to argue against His existence. 

Turek describes seven CRIMES that atheists commit against reality and their everyday life in order make their case against God (or even to attempt to explain reality without God). As he shows that reality demonstrates atheism to be false, he shows not only how each one provides a negative argument against atheism but a positive argument for God. In the final chapters Turek argues for the existence of not just any theistic God, but the God of Christianity- the true worldview. 

In this review I'll go over some of the key points Turek makes throughout the book, provide several of my favorite quotes, and give my specific recommendations. 

The Moral Freedom of Atheism🎉

Introduction- The Moral Freedom of Atheism

Many atheists today are embracing the fact that their worldview cannot support the existence of objective morality, purpose, or meaning. When objective morality, purpose, and meaning do not exist, that frees the individual to create their own morality, purpose, and meaning without the threat of judgment or damnation based upon their choices. 

For the atheist, in a sense, this is quite freeing. It allows anyone and everyone to do whatever they want without any guilt or social discomfort. The freedom to do what one wants without limits opens up a world of possibilities that many have never even dreamed.

Book Review: Scientism and Secularism

"Scientism and Secularism" by J. P. Moreland

Book Review: Scientism And Secularism by J.P. Moreland

All scientific research, discussion, and education is affected by a series of underlying beliefs that include what one grants as sources of knowledge. It is quite common in today's culture for people to accept "scientism," which limits sources of knowledge entirely to the sciences to the exclusion of any other claimed knowledge source or places all other sources of knowledge under the authority of the sciences. 

Both of these philosophies stifle scientific discovery, places knowledge of anything outside of the natural realm beyond reach and erects seemingly impenetrable barriers in discussions about ultimate reality (including morality, beauty, and theology). This has serious implications in the sciences, education, politics, and basic everyday life. In his book "Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology" Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland aims to demonstrate the dangers of scientism, how it is (unwittingly?) accepted and exercised in culture even by Christians, and provide an alternative philosophy of knowledge that will avoid the dangers, expand humanity's knowledge of reality in general, and move forward Christians' internal discussions of theology and the world and give them another tool in their evangelical toolbelts as they provide "...reasons for the hope that [they] have..." (1 Peter 3:15). In this review, I'll provide some of the key points, several important quotes, and my recommendations. 

Where Do Tradition and People Meet?

How does an older generation communicate the truth of the Gospel to a newer generation?

We have to distinguish between content and method. The content (the Gospel) is the ontological truth that can not be divorced from reality, thus that content may not be changed from generation to generation. The method is how the content is communicated which may be changed from generation to generation within objectively true (more content) moral limits.

Tradition does consist of both content and method. It is important that we recognize that no matter how old or new a truth-claim is, if it is false, it must be rejected; but if it is true, then it must be accepted. The historical event of the Resurrection of Jesus is the content that has not changed since the day it happened (1 Cor 15). Part of our discipling the next generation must include historical instruction- a defense of the historical event of the Resurrection (the ontological truth that must be passed down to the next generation).

But if a method of communication falls outside the limits of morality, then no matter how old or new it is, it must be abandoned. If it is within the limits, then it may continue to be used. The Apostle Paul stated that he adapted his method of communicating the Gospel not just to a new generation but to different cultures. Part of our discipling the next generation must also include moral instruction- ethical views (and a defense of the particular view based upon both moral content given in Scripture and logic) that will give them both freedom and limits to guide how they communicate what must be passed down.

While there will always be differences in preferred methods of communication from generation to generation, there will always be methods of communication that are within the moral boundaries. If we wish to communicate the truth of the Gospel to the next generation, we must be willing to recognize that there is much more moral freedom in our methods of communication than some people realize, and we need to make the choice to adapt the method to the next generation.

Tradition, when its claims are true, meet the new generation of people in the older generation's choice to change how that truth is communicated so that the new generation will understand it, accept it, and transmit it when they become the older generation.

For more:
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Book Review: The Magna Carta Of Humanity🗽

"The Magna Carta of Humanity" by Dr. Os Guinness

The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai's Revolutionary Faith and The Future of Freedom

In today's world it is difficult to be online, at parties, with family, at work, or even just in public without hearing about the current cultural and political climate in the United States. Even if the Christian case-maker tries to avoid politics, they still confront culture and will be challenged with the hypocrisies of the Church and those who claimed to be members of the Church who just happened to also have founded The United States of America. And it is rare that challenges stop there. 

People are passionate about one political view (or party) or another. Extremes on the different sides constantly accuse opposing sides of trying to destroy democracy, the Constitution, and even freedom itself. The rhetoric and apparent goals of different politicians can get our heads spinning out of control as we try to make sense of what is going on, how it affects us (and our future), what we can do about it to bring some measure of sanity in the conversations we inevitably get sucked into, and how we can respond logically with both gentleness and respect when the challenges come. 

That is where I have found great value in Os Guinness' "The Magna Carta of Humanity" (Hard copy, audiobook, Kindle). Guinness digs into the foundations, principles, and histories of the cultural and political divide in America. He compares and contrasts them in such a way that brings crystal clarity to the current situation. He points out that before we can even talk about "make America great again" (MAGA), we must truly understand what made America great in the first place. And before anyone wishes to reject the ideals that founded America, they must first truly understand those ideals and truly understand the implications of the ideals they are trading them for. 

In my effort to help you determine if this is a book that is worth your time (and I believe it is), I will include a few of the skeletal points of the book, several of my favorite quotes (mainly from the Introduction- I don't want to spoil too much), and my more specific recommendations. 

Answering Death and Suffering- Christianity is the Only Option

How does atheism deal with suffering?

All Worldviews Must Address Death and Suffering

Suffering is a great challenge of life and a great inconvenient truth to the world's religions and worldviews. Many different worldviews offer different ways to address this challenge. The worldview of naturalism simply makes the recognition that "life is suffering, then you die." If naturalism is true, then this is a very accurate, though bleak, view of life- you suffer for no apparent reason then you die and become worm food. 

I have heard some people claim that this is quite satisfying because it frees them from any expectations of others and grants them the satisfaction of being able to do whatever they want to numb, avoid, or drown out the suffering of life. Granting that "life is suffering, then you die" is not satisfaction, though; it is surrender. It is not inspiring; it is depressing. But the truth is that if atheism is true, it really doesn't matter if this statement represents surrender or if it is depressing; if it is true, then we are stuck with it and its implications of surrender and depression.