Shattering the Icons of Evolution – my notes on Tim Barnett’s presentation

The following are my notes on a video presentation by Tim Barnett called “Shattering the Icons of Evolution.” (Note: some credit for the material might go to Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? by Jonathan Wells. I haven’t read it but I’m told it’s similar.) I decided to use my notes instead of writing a regular blog post because the presentation laid things out more clearly than I would be able to. I am not a scientist. I’m just doing my best to understand the evidence. Arguments for Darwinian evolution have caused many people to abandon Christianity, so I think it’s important to look at the evidence and not just dismiss evolution out of hand.

(Side note: I should clarify that I am not a young earth creationist or a theistic evolutionist. I am an old earth creationist who does not believe in macroevolution. I hold this view because, to the best of my knowledge, it’s the view that is most supported by the evidence. As I’ve said before, I think that the only good reason to believe something is because it’s true.)

 

DEFINITIONS OF EVOLUTION:

Do you believe in evolution?
First we have to ask: What do you mean by evolution?

Uncontroversial definitions of evolution (microevolution):

  1. Change over time
  2. Change in gene frequency in a population
  3. Mechanism: natural selection (survival of the fittest) and random mutation
  4. Limited common descent

Controversial definitions of evolution (macroevolution):

  1. Universal common descent
  2. All organisms have descended from a common ancestor solely through an unguided natural process

Evidence for macroevolution can be divided into three categories:

  • Mistaken projection
  • Mistaken information
  • Mistaken conclusion

 

MISTAKEN PROJECTION:
Small changes + time = big changes, like dinosaurs into birds.

  • Peppered moths (Light or dark ones flourish depending on the color of the trees.)
    • natural selection, not macroevolution.
  • Finch beaks (The size of finch beaks changes according to needs and in times of drought, etc.)
    • Also natural selection, not macroevolution.
  • Antibiotic resistant bacteria (Mutant H. pylori lacks the ability to produce the enzyme that converts an antibiotic into a poison that would kill the H. pylori.)
    • The change was beneficial, but it broke something (the ability to create the enzyme) and made it less complex, which is the opposite of what would happen in macroevolution. In macroevolution, it should become more complex. Even though it was a beneficial change, it is not a step toward macroevolution.

These 3 are often given as evidence of evolution, but they only support microevolution, not macroevolution.

 

Mistaken Information:
Information that has been disproved but is still included in textbooks.

  • Transitional forms (Intermediate states between an ancestral form & its modern descendants.)
    • There are a handful of disputed so-called transitional forms, but we should find many more transitional forms than what we actually have. In Origin of the Species, Darwin said that this is the most serious objection against his theory.
    • “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” – Stephen Jay Gould, “Evolution’s Erratic Pace” (1987)
    • The rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record led Gould to develop the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which says that new species evolve suddenly over brief periods of time, followed by longer periods during which there is no genetic change.
  • Embryology (Similarities in early stage embryos are evidence of common descent.)
    • Darwin thought that embryology was “by far the strongest single class of facts in favor of change of form.”
    • Ernst Haeckel’s drawings, which are still used in some science textbooks, show early embryos of a fish, salamander, tortoise, chicken, and human as looking nearly identical to each other. Comparing those drawings to actual photographs of embryos shows that they are nowhere near identical. Science Magazine, a peer-reviewed academic journal, wrote about how Haeckel’s drawings are fraudulent.
    • There is no reason for those drawings to still be in textbooks because they do not reflect reality.
  • Junk DNA (DNA was thought to be 98% junk, or nonfunctional, no longer needed DNA accumulated over millions of years of evolution.)
    • 2% of our DNA is protein coding. 98% is non-protein coding and was thought to be useless, representing the trial and error of evolution.
    • The ENCODE Project enabled scientists to “assign biochemical functions for 80% of the genome, in particular outside of the well-studied protein-coding regions.”

 

Mistaken Conclusion:
Evidence that could support evolution, but could just as easily support creation.

  • Vestigial organs (Organs that have become functionless in the course of evolution.)
    • The list of human vestigial organs has become shorter since we discovered uses for some of them.
    • There are some underwater creatures that live in total darkness and have non-functional eyes. Why would a divine creator give a creature eyes that it has no use for? Because the eyes started out functional, but became non-functional through mutation and natural selection. A loss of function isn’t evolution, it’s more like de-evolution.
  • Homologous structures (Homology has to do with similarities between organisms.)
    • There are similarities in bone structure across different species of animals and humans.
    • What best explains similarity? It could be common descent or common design.
    • Mammalian eyes (examples: human, whale, mouse) are similar and thought to be a result of common descent. But the octopus eye is an example of convergent evolution and is thought to have evolved completely independently of the mammalian eye.
    • Common design is a more rational explanation than the idea that the eye evolved independently numerous times.

Why is evolution so widely believed?
Evolution is partly true: microevolution is true.

Why is macroevolution so widely believed?
Because of philosophical reasons: a commitment to methodological naturalism. The only alternative to macroevolution is intelligent design, and that option is automatically rejected because it doesn’t fit a naturalist worldview. Without the bias of naturalism, the evidence points away from macroevolution.

 

Recommended Links
Are There Transitional Intermediates in the Fossil Record?
The Fossil Record Proves Evolution. Right?
Like a Fish Out of Water: Why I’m Skeptical of the Evolutionary Paradigm
Three (More) Reasons Why Junk DNA Is No Longer Evidence for Evolution
Can Naturalists Explain Where Life Originated?
Why Is Evolution So Widely Believed?

Should Men Shut Up About Abortion?

A common assertion made by abortion advocates is that men don’t have a right to give an opinion on abortion because they don’t have a woman’s body. They can’t get pregnant, so they can never understand what it’s like to have to make that choice, and it doesn’t affect them anyway.

I have never heard of anyone telling a pro-abortion man that he should keep his opinions to himself. I’ve only seen those men embraced and celebrated by pro-abortion women. It seems like being a man only disqualifies your opinion if you disagree with abortion advocates. I think the argument against men speaking on the topic of abortion is just a tactic to discredit pro-life arguments without actually having to address them. Those who actually believe that arguments from men are invalid are committing an ad hominem fallacy. Being male does not prevent a person from understanding the abortion issue or coming up with legitimate arguments related to it.

Gender doesn’t determine the validity of a person’s argument. Men and women can make the same arguments for and against abortion. The same argument isn’t more valid coming from a woman than from a man. An argument should be accepted or rejected based on its merits, not the gender of the person giving it.

If the opinions of men don’t count because they don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant or to be in a situation where they would have to make a choice between giving birth and having an abortion, then that also disqualifies the opinions of women who have never been pregnant or are not capable of becoming pregnant.

The argument suggests that a woman with little or no medical education is more qualified to speak on abortion than a male doctor no matter how educated he is or how many years of experience he has working with pregnant women. That strikes me as ridiculous.

If we take this argument to its logical conclusion, then no one would have a right to give an opinion on anything that they hadn’t experienced personally. Women would have no right to contribute an opinion on men’s health issues. Mothers would have no right to decide if their son should be circumcised, only the father could make that decision. Only disabled people would have a right to speak when considering policies that deal with disability. Only the votes of immigrants would count on bills that address immigration. The idea that no one can understand and have good judgment regarding something they haven’t experienced personally is obviously false.

Women are not the only ones affected by pregnancy and abortion. Men have a right (and a responsibility) to be interested in their own offspring. And of course the people who are most affected by abortion are the unborn babies, which means that abortion directly affects both females and males by killing them.

The real question is whether or not an unborn child is a human being. Assuming that you accept that killing innocent humans is wrong, that’s the only question that needs to be answered to determine whether or not abortion is wrong. “What is the unborn?” is a scientific question that can be examined by both women and men, regardless of whether or not they’re capable of becoming pregnant themselves. See the links below for more on that topic.

 

Recommended Links
Abortion and Human Equality
Abortion: One Key Issue
The Insignificant Differences Between Fetal Humans and Human Toddlers
If It’s a Human at a Crime Scene, It’s a Human in the Womb
If You Don’t Like Abortion, Don’t Have One
Argument for the Silent: A Biblical Case Against Abortion

Dear “Very Tired Christian,” From a Bible-Believing Christian

I wasn’t planning for my next blog post to be another one about LGBT matters, but that is the hot topic right now, and I’m doing my best to be informed and to think through the issues. I’ve seen several posts shared on Facebook that are similar to the one I’m addressing here. This one got thousands of shares and was praised as being “mind-blowing” and “a must read.” I’ve copied the entire text of the article so that I can respond to it point by point. The original article can be seen here.

Unlike my previous LGBT-related posts (here and here), this one is written specifically to Christians.

Dear Offended Christian,

I’m terribly sorry that your feelings are hurt again. I feel badly about that. None of us likes to be criticized, so I totally get it.

I know I’ve said some pretty hard words to you recently, and maybe I’ve been somewhat less than “cheery” in my delivery, but that happens when you’re tired.

This article is addressed to “offended Christians.” The intro identifies them as ones whose feelings have been hurt by criticism and hard words. If that’s what the author was really talking about, he would just apologize for being harsh and express a hope that he and the offended Christian could move forward with more gracious attitudes. What he does instead is list the things that he and the “offended Christian” disagree on. If anything, it seems like a warning that some people might be offended by the criticism offered in the article. The article could just as easily apply to Christians whose feelings aren’t hurt by the author’s perspective.

And I am really tired:

I’m tired of hearing you telling gay people that they can’t simultaneously be both gay and Christian.

The biblical Christian view is not that you can’t be a Christian if you struggle with same-sex attraction. It’s that embracing homosexual relationships as good instead of sinful suggests that you might not really be a Christian. A Christian is someone who accepts the truth and authority of the Bible and trusts Jesus as their savior. If you don’t accept the Bible as true, then you’re accepting your own version of Jesus, not the Jesus of Christianity.

I’m tired of having to explain what “Transgender” means to adult Christian people, who I’m quite sure have Internet access and should know better by now that it ain’t “a guy in a dress”.

I agree. Christians should take the time to research that topic. Saying that a transgender person is just “a guy in a dress” is an oversimplification and an unsympathetic way of phrasing it.

I’m tired of arrogant pulpit bullies who believe they’re entitled to tell people where they can pee and who they can marry and whether they really love Jesus or not.

Real arrogance is definitely inappropriate for a Christian pastor. Accusing someone of not loving Jesus, especially without good reason, is arrogant and insensitive. But if someone’s idea of Jesus is completely unbiblical, then it would be valid for someone to say that that person loves a version of Jesus who doesn’t really exist.

It is not arrogant for a pastor to preach the Bible. Where the Bible is clear on a subject, a pastor can preach on it not as his own opinion, but simply conveying what the Bible says. The Bible is clear on the subject of marriage. The transgender bathroom issue isn’t specifically mentioned because it’s a modern issue, but the principle behind it is clearly addressed in the Bible. A pastor can share what the Bible has to say on the principle without arrogance.

I’m tired of you being more outraged by red coffee cups and department store restrooms than by poverty and racism and gun violence and our crumbling school system.

I agree. The small number of people who were upset about the red Starbucks cups were being unreasonable. Also, department store bathrooms are simply a symptom of the larger problem and should be treated with that perspective.

There are many problems like the ones that the author listed that Christians should be paying more attention to.

I’m tired of gay people being accused of the kind of predatory behavior that straight men have been exhibiting, since the man cave was—an actual cave.

I agree. Recently transgender people especially have been accused of being predators. A small percentage of them are, but by far most predators are not trans or gay. It’s wrong to assume that anyone who is trans or gay must be some kind of predator.

Luckily only a small but loud minority of people automatically assume that gay or trans people are predators. The vast majority of Christians are more concerned about men who aren’t trans taking advantage of a law that will allow them  easier access to women’s restrooms and changing rooms.

I’m tired of reminding you that the number of times Jesus spoke about gender identity and sexual orientation in the Gospels—is zero.

Even if Jesus never directly addressed those subjects, so what? I see this point raised all the time, and I don’t understand it at all. If you follow a Red Letters Only version of Christianity, where you discount the rest of the Bible, you are not a Christian. That’s simply a heretical view. Besides, why would you think you could trust the red words if you can’t trust the other words?

One reason why Jesus didn’t address homosexuality more directly (that we know of) is that there wouldn’t have been any question at that time as to what His response would be. And while crossdressing (which is addressed negatively in the Bible) is not the same as being transgender, the idea that a person’s gender could be different from their sex is really new and wouldn’t have been on anyone’s radar in Bible times.

There is a lot more to say about this, so please check out the article “Jesus Didn’t Say Anything about Homosexuality” by Alan Shlemon.

I’m tired of having to explain to people that although I am a Christian, that I’m not that type of Christian; the kind that is generous with damnation and stingy with Grace.

There are Christians who are generous with damnation and stingy with grace. The kind who are truly judgmental (unfairly or excessively critical) and harsh. The kind who are quick to coldly tell people that they’re going to Hell, instead of kindly sharing the truth of the gospel with them. I’m not that type of Christian either. That would not be setting a good example of how Christians are supposed to act.

We are, however, supposed to be generous with truth and stingy with compromise. If you think someone is being stingy with grace because they tell you that the Bible says homosexual relationships are sinful, your real problem is with the Bible, not the person who told you what it says.

I’m tired of LGBTQ teens cutting their forearms and jumping off buildings because they’re told by their church friends that God hates them, because their Christian parents told them, because their Christian pastors told them.

I agree! God doesn’t hate them. God loves them and wants what’s best for them, even if they hate God for telling them they’re wrong.

Some Christians kick their own kids out of their house or kick their adult sons or daughters out of their lives. That’s absolutely the wrong response. You should be compassionate and patient as you talk through the issues with them and make sure they know that you love them no matter what, even if you disagree.

I’m tired of followers of Jesus who don’t seem interested in cracking open a book to see what we’ve learned about the brain and the body in 2,000 years, or to realize that gender identity and sexual orientation don’t equal the word “homosexuality” in the Bible.

I agree that Christians should stay updated on the latest scientific findings. There are many who do, and they are much better prepared to address today’s heated topics than those who don’t.

Gender identity isn’t the same thing as homosexuality. But the Bible gives us a clear enough picture to know that God does not recognize sex and gender to be two separate things that may or may not align. He created them male and female. He didn’t create some male except inside they’re actually female. That is an unbiblical idea.

I’m tired of all the time I have to spend undoing the damage the Church has done to queer kids and their families.

I’m tired of religious folk who seem to want small government everywhere except the bedroom and bathroom.

I’m tired of Scientific ignorance being treated as if it’s a Christian virtue.

I agree. Christians who think science is evil or unworthy make me cringe. The scientific evidence actually points to God and has strengthened the faith of many Christians.

I’m tired of hearing you preach verbatim the gospel of Fox News.

I’m tired of high-profile pastors blaming gay people for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and ISIS and child obesity.

Some pastors blame gay people for those things? I hadn’t heard that, but it’s ridiculous.

I’m tired of waiting for you to show up in this world and actually show the freakin’ love of Jesus to people the way he did and told you to, without excuses or caveats or theological tap dancing to avoid it.

I agree, a lot of people need to get better at this! I also don’t help others as much as I should.

I’m tired of this wasteful, fruitless, mean-spirited, unprovoked, unbiblical attack on the LGBTQ community, that is squandering so much time and life and beauty in the name of a God who is supposedly Love.

God is love. Love means wanting the best for someone, not agreeing with everything they say. God is also just. He is the standard for moral values. If you believe the Bible, you should believe that sin is real and it’s a big deal. It is not “unbiblical” to point out that the Bible does not support LGBT ideas.

Mean-spirited attacks are unbiblical. I agree with that part.

I’m tired of so many people believing that “Christian” and “bigot” are synonymous—and not disagreeing with them.

All Christians are bigots? Then why would the author consider himself a Christian? There are many things in the Bible that he would consider bigoted and wrong. If he really believes that the Christian God is real and is the standard of morality, he should get on board with what the Bible says.

I’m tired of a Church which seems to be so ambivalent toward the teachings and example of Jesus.

I’m not sure what the author means by this.

I’m tired of a Christianity that is making me more and more embarrassed to be associated with it.

There are some Christians or professing Christians who really have the wrong idea about things and set a bad example. I’m saddened by that, but it doesn’t make me embarrassed to be associated with Christianity. It compels me to work harder to be a good example.

So I get that your feelings are hurt. I understand that you’re offended, and that’s not my intention.

My feelings aren’t hurt. I don’t take your opinions personally. I’m just defending what the Bible says.

But listen, if you’re going to tell a group of people that they’re going to Hell simply for existing, and you’re going to continually target those people through the Church and the Law and your social media accounts, don’t get angry with me when I tell you you’re being hateful and judgmental and ignorant.

No one goes to Hell simply for existing. That statement misunderstands our argument so much that it sounds like the author is unfamiliar with or rejects the biblical concept of sin. At the very least, he clearly doesn’t agree with what the Bible says about homosexuality.

People who “target” LGBT people for the purpose of being hateful and cruel to them are not acting like Christians should.

People who are just defending what the Bible says are not being hateful, judgmental, or ignorant.

It could be worse.

At least I’m not damning you for all eternity.

Any human who says, “I damn you to Hell” is beyond arrogant. However, a human who correctly interprets the Bible and shares what it says with others is not damning anyone. If you have a problem with God’s judgment, take it up with Him.

Sincerely,
A Very Tired Christian

Sincerely,
A Bible-Believing Christian

 

Recommended links:
The Bible and Homosexuality
If God is So Loving, Why Can’t He Be More Tolerant of Sin?
Intersex People Don’t Prove There Are More Than Two Sexes
Jesus Didn’t Say Anything About Homosexuality
Are There Any Errors in the Bible?

 

Defining Gender

I was assigned female at birth. That’s the new politically correct way to say that I am biologically female. Saying that a gender was assigned to me makes it sound like it was a decision that was based on the doctor’s personal judgment, which opens it up to disagreement. But the gender or sex that was written on my birth certificate wasn’t decided upon based on a doctor’s subjective opinion. A person’s gender is not “assigned,” it is observed. When defining something observable, the definition should match the observation. There’s no good reason to think that gender should be up for subjective interpretation.

The World Health Organization defines gender this way: “Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed.”

That is not an accurate definition of gender. That is the definition of gender roles. If a man has characteristics that match with his society’s gender norms for women, such as being “sensitive,” staying home with his kids instead of being the provider, liking the color pink, etc, that doesn’t make him a woman. Having social characteristics that are normally associated with a certain gender doesn’t make you that gender. I’m sure most people would agree with that.

So if gender isn’t defined by whether you conform to your society’s gender roles, what is the definition of gender?

Option One: Some people would say that your gender is whatever you think it is, and the only way to determine someone’s gender is for them to decide which one matches how they feel. They would say that a person’s mind might not match their biological sex. By this definition, gender is completely subjective. One person’s gender could even change many times as the person’s perception of their gender changed. (This is called gender fluid.)

Option Two: The definition of gender that has been agreed upon by virtually all people since the beginning of humanity until recently is that gender is the state of being male or female, and that male and female are biological terms. By this definition, someone who thinks that their gender doesn’t match their biological sex is mistaken.

Option Two is scientifically verifiable and logically sound. It is a definition that matches the observation it seeks to define. For those reasons, Option Two has been considered common sense and self-evident throughout history until recently.

Option One is not based on scientific observation, but on emotion and subjective perception. It does not accurately define what is observed. It makes an unsubstantiated jump in reasoning: that because someone feels that they are a certain gender, therefore they are that gender, in spite of observable evidence to the contrary. What justifies the jump from the “because” to the “therefore?” In most cases, a claim that conflicts with observable evidence is considered incorrect. Why would it be different in the case of gender? When someone feels that their perceived gender isn’t the same as their biological sex, it makes more sense to try to get the subjective perception in line with reality than to try to alter reality to match the subjective perception.

This post is my attempt to explain why I can’t go along with society’s new definition of gender. It’s not hate or bigotry. It’s an unwillingness to accept an idea that I think is unfounded. I will accept new ideas if they appear to be rational and are supported by evidence. I have not found that to be the case with the redefinition of gender.

To be clear, my disagreement with the new ideas about gender does not mean that I support hostility toward trans people. Too many people automatically assume that people who disagree are just hateful. As I wrote in my post “Love, Hate, and the LGBT Debate,” understanding and compassion are needed here. I do not think that disagreement on this issue justifies aggressive and hurtful behavior. I know that there are a lot of people who have attacked the character and intentions of someone just because they’re transgender. That is completely unacceptable and unreasonable. We all need to be respectful enough to try to understand the other person’s perspective, responsible enough to strive for truth, and compassionate enough to treat each other with kindness.

Love, Hate, and the LGBT Debate

If someone is against same-sex marriage or restroom access based on gender identity and not biological sex, they are labeled as hateful by the majority of pro-LGBT advocates simply for having that opinion. Notice that they aren’t just called wrong, they’re called hateful. Is this accusation justified, even if no information is known about how they came to that conclusion or how they actually feel toward LGBT individuals? What exactly does it mean to say that someone is hateful?

Hate: An intense dislike. When you hate someone, you want them to suffer in some way. You might want to see them fail, to see them unhappy, or, in extreme cases, to see them dead. It gives you satisfaction to see them do the wrong thing because it justifies your hatred.

There are people, some of whom are Christians or at least think they are, who actually hate LGBT people for being LGBT. They are rude, aggressive, and deliberately hurtful. They have no desire to be friends with someone who is LGBT or to understand their point of view. That’s what a hateful person looks like. Even if that person claims that Biblical morality is the source of their opinions on LGBT issues, their attitude is the opposite of what the Bible says our attitude should be. Unfortunately, this is what most defenders of LGBT interests seem to think all Bible-believing Christians are like.

But hate exists on both sides of the issue. I’ve seen people who are pro-LGBT turn from friendly to rude, aggressive, and hurtful at the discovery that a friend or acquaintance has a different view from theirs in this area. I’ve seen them make unwarranted attacks on the character of the other person. I’ve seen friendships come to quick and painful ends over this issue because the pro-LGBT friend assumed that anyone who disagreed with them must be motivated by hate.

Love: A deep affection. When you love someone, you want what’s best for them. You want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. It makes you happy to see them be a good person and do the right thing.

I constantly see people who are pro-LGBT talk about how it’s loving to support LGBT interests and unloving to be unsupportive of them. They truly believe that. They are motivated by love and a desire for what’s best for other people. Christians who are empathetic and compassionate understand this. They give people’s motivations the benefit of the doubt. Even if they think that someone else’s views are wrong and even harmful, they don’t accuse them of being motivated by hate. They acknowledge that they’re doing what they think is right.

When most Bible-believing Christians express their concerns about LGBT issues, they are doing so because they care. Instead of being rude and hurtful, they try to approach the issue with understanding. Instead of shunning people who are LGBT, they make friends with them. They want what’s best for other people, and they feel morally obligated to stand up for the truth. They think it would be unloving to let lies and harm spread without trying to stand against it. Whether or not you agree with their conclusions, it’s unreasonable to accuse them of being motivated by hate.

An idea should be called right or wrong based on its merits. A person should be called loving or unloving based on their attitude and intentions. We should be discerning enough to tell the difference between someone who is actually hateful and someone who simply has a different opinion from ours, even if we think that their opinion is wrong or even harmful. When both sides have good intentions, differences of opinion should be addressed with respectful discussion. The goal should be to maintain friendships even if neither side changes their opinion. Understanding and compassion are desperately needed in the LGBT debate.

Misguided Atheist vs. Uninformed Christian: My thoughts on a podcast by Stefan Molyneux

A few months ago I posted a link to this blog on my Facebook page. A former acquaintance of mine saw the post (she may have read some of my blog posts, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t read most of them) and sent me the following private message:

“I saw your post and thought of a podcast about theism that I listened to the other day that you might find interesting.”

The podcast she sent me was “The Christian’s Burden of Proof” by Stefan Molyneux. I listened to it and took some notes, which I then sent to her. She never replied. My notes aren’t very in-depth, since I was trying to give as succinct a response as possible, but I wanted to post them here to share my responses to some commonly raised objections.

Here is my full reply to my former acquaintance:

 

I listened to about 50 minutes of the podcast. At that point I felt like I had the gist of what they were saying. I hopped ahead a bit and found that they were still discussing basically the same thing, so I stopped it there. My overall impression is that the Christian in the interview had never been presented with those kinds of challenges before and didn’t realize that there were good responses. I hope the conversation encouraged him to look up some Christian apologetics sites or books. I took some notes which I’ll copy here in case you’d like to see them:

 

[The Christian encountered other Christians who didn’t offer any defense for their beliefs, which caused him to doubt.]

This is an unfortunately widespread problem, especially considering how many strong evidences there are. (See my post “Evidence for God and Christianity“)

 

[He has not experienced the more emotional side of spirituality, which he describes as speaking in tongues and “feeling” God’s blessings, etc. (No warm fuzzy feelings.) He has only been taught to love God with his emotions, not with his mind.]

If speaking in tongues is still a legitimate practice, I think that real instances of it are rare. It’s definitely not something that every believer has to do. Getting the “warm fuzzies” is also not a requirement. Subjective experiences like that are fine, but they are not supposed to be the basis for faith.

 

[Atheist says, “You can be a Christian and be rational, but you can’t be rational about Christianity.”]

I disagree that you can’t be rational about Christianity. (See my posts “Evidence for God and Christianity” and “Why I’m a Christian.”)

 

[Atheist shows a misunderstanding of the moral argument.]

The moral argument does not mean that if God didn’t exist, Christians who hold to the moral argument would become murderers. You can do good things without believing in God. The question is where does the STANDARD for morality come from? The Bible teaches that God’s nature is the objective reference point for moral values. If there is no standard for morality, then morality is subjective. If morality is subjective, then everyone should be able to do whatever they want, because every person (or society) sets their own moral standard. This would mean that nothing is truly evil. Christians believe that some things are objectively evil and some things are objectively good, and God’s nature is the standard. (See my post “Evidence for God and Christianity“)

 

[Atheist says Christians “have an irrational source for a rational action.”]

I can see why an atheist would think that, but again, I disagree that Christianity is irrational. (See my posts “Evidence for God and Christianity” and “Why I’m a Christian.”)

 

[Atheist says that we shouldn’t love and admire God for being virtuous because God doesn’t struggle with temptation. “We admire virtuous people to the degree that their virtue faces opposition.”]

The atheist is saying that virtue itself isn’t admirable. Only the struggle to be virtuous is admirable. If virtue itself was admirable, then God would be worth admiring for His virtue. But why would it be admirable to struggle for something that isn’t itself admirable? God is virtue itself. His nature is the definition of goodness. Goodness itself is admirable, and that’s why we can admire God’s goodness.

 

[God is a hypocrite because he says “Thou shall not kill” but he has killed millions. (Example: the flood)]

I know I’ve read articles on the flood, but I can’t find any of them right now. I’m pretty sure there was a similar situation as there was with the Canaanites, where their culture was too morally far gone and unrepentant to be saved. Canaanite religious rituals included all kinds of horrible acts like pederasty, bestiality, child sacrifice, etc. (See this article for more information.)

 

[God could intervene to stop evil but he doesn’t.]

This is a good article on that difficult and complicated subject.

Evidence for God and Christianity

I am not currently conversant enough with these evidences to be able to write proper blog posts on them myself. I decided to make a reference post on the evidence for Christianity so that I have all the major evidences collected and summarized, with links to articles by people who are actual experts. These summaries do not do the arguments justice. The links are the most important part of this post.

I may update this post as I find more things to include.

 

The origin of the universe

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

 

The fine-tuning of the universe

The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design. Given the implausibility of physical necessity or chance, the best explanation for why the universe is fine-tuned for life is that it was designed that way.

 

The origin of life and appearance of design in biology

Naturalistic explanations can’t account for the origin of life or the appearance of design in biology.

 

The existence of consciousness and free will

“The brain is not the mind, and any ultimate explanation for the universe must account for this non-material, non-spatial reality.”

“A world in which people have the freedom to love and perform great acts of kindness is also a world in which people have the freedom to hate and commit great acts of evil.”

 

The presence of objective moral truths

God’s nature is the objective reference point for moral values.
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. But objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

 

The presence of evil and injustice

Unless there is a transcendent standard of goodness, evil is just a matter of opinion.

“The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God.” (RF)

“God is the final answer to the problem of evil, for He redeems us from evil and takes us into the everlasting joy of an incommensurable good, fellowship with Himself.” (RF)

 

The evidence for Jesus

“The gospels are not only trustworthy documents in general, but as we look at some of the most important aspects of Jesus in the gospels, like his radical personal claims, his miracles, his trial and crucifixion, and his resurrection, their historical veracity shines through.” (RF)

From Cold-Case Christianity: “The evidence for the historicity of Jesus is significant and compelling. Jesus is not a re-creation of early mythologies. His existence was confirmed by non-Biblical ancient historical sources and was accurately preserved over the centuries. Even the non-canonical authors affirm the true existence of Jesus.”

 

The reliability of the Bible

The Bible has been faithfully transmitted, verified with archaeology, and confirmed by prophecy.

The Gospels were written early, have been corroborated, and have been accurately delivered. The Gospel authors were unbiased.

 

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