Rapid Response: “Evil Disproves the Existence of God”

In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone said, “If God is both all-loving and all-powerful, why does He allow evil things to happen? Doesn’t the mere presence of evil disprove the existence of God?” How would you respond to such a claim? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

“In criminal trials, evidence can either inculpate or exculpate a suspect. Inculpating evidence points toward a suspect’s involvement. Exculpating evidence, on the other hand, points away from the suspect’s involvement. So, the real question here is this: Does the presence of evil, either natural or moral evil, exculpate God as the best suspect for the creation of the universe? After all, if there's an all-powerful, all-loving God, why could He allow evil to exist? Either He's not all-powerful (so He can't stop it), or He's not all-loving (He doesn’t want to stop it), or presence of evil demonstrates that He doesn't exist at all.

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Rapid Response: “We Don’t Need God to Explain the Beginning of the Universe”

In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone said, “Christians claim God created the universe, but modern science explains the origin of the universe. God is not needed to order to explain how the universe came into existence.” How would you respond to such a claim? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

“As a detective, I have a goal at every crime scene. It’s my job to explain how each piece of evidence appeared in the scene. Can I explain it from inside the room, or do I have to go outside the room for an explanation? Just as importantly, I must ask the question: ‘Why did the crime occur here in the first place?’ If we examine the universe like a crime scene, we have a similar responsibility. Can we explain the evidence in the cosmos by staying ‘inside the room’ of the natural universe, or must we go ‘outside the room’ for a better explanation? And just as importantly, we must ask a similar question about the ‘crime scene’ itself: ‘How did the universe come into being, and why is the evidence here in the first place?’

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Built for a Time Like this


 

We are being asked to live with unknown cultural elements and we are uncertain as to how some things will play out. We find some things we have seen this week to be unbelievable. Some of us are homesick, others of us feel exhausted, curious, disillusioned, and engaged all at once. It’s hard sometimes for me to articulate the deep longings that come out as emotional overload and my guess is that I am not alone.

Those of us in international education or those of us who have studied abroad or those of us who have international partners as part of our day to day work are built for a time like this. How do I know?

Cultural Disorientation

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Rapid Response: “We Don’t Need God to Explain the Existence of Free Agency”

In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone said, “Christians describe God as a Divine Mind who creates humans in his own image with consciousness and free will. But you don’t need God to account for the kind of free agency Christian describe. Free will can be explained from an atheistic perspective.” How would you respond to such a claim? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

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Rapid Response: “The Appearance of Design in Biology Does Not Require an Intelligent Designer”

In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone said, “Believers sometimes point to the appearance of design in biology as evidence of an Intelligent Designer, but natural forces can account for what we see in biology without the involvement of any intelligent Creator.” How would you respond to such a claim? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

“You know, even adamant atheists like evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, candidly admit that the science of biology is an effort to explain the ‘appearance of design,’ even though they still reject the existence of a Divine Designer. Non-believers like Dawkins stipulate (a term we use in criminal trials) to the appearance of design, yet fail to provide an adequate cause for this appearance. It’s reasonable for us to infer intelligent design if we see the attributes of design that can only be explained by the involvement of an intelligent designer, and I think there are eight attributes we can identify in any intelligently designed object. When (1) an object cannot be explained by chance events, (2) resembles other objects we know were intelligently designed, (3) displays high levels of sophistication and complexity, (4) requires information in order to come into existence, (5) displays evidence of goal direction, (6) cannot be explained as the result of natural law alone, (7) demonstrates a level of irreducible complexity and (8) displays evidence of decision making, it’s fair and reasonable to infer an intelligent designer was involved in its creation.

I know that’s a mouthful, but when we examine this cumulative case related to any object we see in our environment (including biological organisms), we can properly conclude that the object or organism was created by an intelligent creator. You don’t even need all eight attributes to be present to infer a designer. Think about a bird’s nest, for example. You might only identify six of the eight attributes present in the nest (you may not find evidence of informational dependency or irreducible complexity), but when presented with the nest, you’d be foolish to argue against the existence of intelligent birds, because the other six attributes point to the involvement of an intelligent creator.

Now let’s consider the ‘icon’ of the Intelligent Design movement, the biological micro-machine described by bio-chemist, Michael Behe, known as the bacterial flagellum. There are tons of similar examples in biology, but this little rotary motor is still an excellent example of deign in biology. All eight attributes of design are present in this motor, and even if two or three of these attributes were disputable, there would still be more than enough (just like the bird’s nest) to infer the existence of an Intelligent Designer. While atheist scientists continue to try to provide an evolutionary explanation for the bacterial flagellum, they’ve been unable to explain these attributes (especially the necessity of information in the genome that guides the process of assembly). The information in DNA requires an intelligent source, because we can’t find a single example in the history of science (or the history of the universe) in which information comes from anything other than intelligence.

For many unbelievers, the existence of an Intelligent Designer is problematic. If there is an Intelligent Creator, this Creator would likely be interested in us as His creations, and He may even have expectations of us. I think a lot of us reject the ‘appearance of a design’ because we don't like the idea that this Designer might want to be involved in (and have authority over) our own lives. But the existence of an Intelligent Designer is obvious in biology, not just because naturalism fails to explain the existence of design attributes, but because the cumulative evidence points most reasonably to an Intelligent Creator.  It’s up to us how we respond to this evidence and the existence of the Designer who accounts for it.”

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Rapid Response: “We Don’t Need God to Explain the Origin of Life”

In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone said, “Christians believe God created all the life here on earth, but science has a better explanation for the origin of life.” How would you respond to such a statement? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

“The origin of life is a critical question and an important piece of evidence in our universe. When detectives attempt to answer such a question, we typically try to ask the same kinds of questions one might ask when writing a good essay: the What, Where, When, Why, and How questions. If you ask those same questions about the origin of life, you begin to see the problem with the naturalistic scientific answers from those who attempt to explain the origin of life without invoking God.

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Four Ways to Strengthen Your Kid’s Faith

Those of us who are interested in Christian Case Making (aka “apologetics”) are aware of the challenges facing young Christians in their teens and twenties. It’s a simple fact; most young Christians will walk away from the Church in their college years. Like other Case Makers, I’m animated to work as hard as I can with this age group; young people need Christian Case Making more than any other demographic within the Church. Following a recent presentation at a church, I was approached by a mother who was concerned for her high school aged children. We began discussing several ways parents can prepare their kids before sending them off to college. Here are four simple guiding strategies:

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What is the Bible About Anyway?

The Bible can be intimidating right? When you pick it up to read, where do you start?  In the beginning? (#punning). Or do you start with the words of the wise in Proverbs? Jesus seems to be pretty important. Do you start by reading about His life in the Gospel books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

Whether you’re new to Christianity or have been following Jesus for a lifetime, knowing how to read the Bible and where to start can be a challenge.

Confession: I’m a 100% through and through book nerd. My idea of a hot Friday night? A good book in one hand a glass of vino in the other. I devour books as if they are a big ‘ole fat slice of pie. I love books.

The Benefit of Doubt

The following is an excerpt from the new book, Answering the Toughest Questions About God and the Bible by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz.

God isn’t surprised when people doubt him. It doesn’t even bother him. How do we know this? Because of the way Jesus treated one of his disciples, famously (or infamously) known as Doubting Thomas. Jesus had been crucified, was dead and buried. But he rose again and appeared to more then five hundred people, including his disciples—except for one.

It seems Thomas was missing when Jesus first appeared to his followers, and even though his colleagues told Thomas about the risen Lord, he refused to believe. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Talk about a tough sell!

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Answering the Toughest Questions About God and the Bible

I'm excited to tell you about the newest book from Bruce & Stan, Answering the Toughest Questions About God and the Bible. We don't pretend to have all the answers (never have, never will), but we do know how to wrestle with doubt. In this new book, we ask some of the most important questions people have about God and the Bible. Here's an excerpt to give you an idea of our approach.

The world is full of questions. Whether the topic is politics, race, relationships, the environment, or religion (especially religion), there seem to be more questions than answers. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite good. In past generations, asking questions was considered rude or disrespectful, especially when it came to God and the Bible. “God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me” was the response Christians were supposed to have. Anything more and you were labeled a Doubting Thomas. People were reluctant to ask questions about God out of concern they would be considered un-American (we’re not kidding).

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