To Grow, Put Yourself in Increasingly Difficult Situations

Here is some practical advice on how to force some growth in your life. Let's face it, often we have to make ourselves pretty uncomfortable to knock us out of our apathy.

Is Sincerity Enough?

One of Christianity’s most important claims is also one of its most controversial:  Jesus is the only way to God (Acts 4:11-12, John 8:24).  A common objection follows:  “It does not matter if you believe in Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed, as long as your belief is sincere.  What more could God want than a sincere heart?”  Indeed, the annoyed objector may even point to the fact that adherents of other religions are oftentimes more sincere than the very Christians who criticize their sincerity. 

Of course, Christians ought not needlessly offend people, but we do need to ask if sincerity should be our most important concern when it comes to religious belief, as this objection assumes.  Two responses will help bring clarity to the issue. 

First, notice that no one accepts sincerity alone in any other area of life besides religion.  Why?  Because sincerity may be important but it is not enough.  For example, if you decide to go skydiving, are you more concerned about having sincere beliefs or true beliefs?  When you are coasting in a plane at 10,000 feet in the air, preparing to jump into the wild blue yonder and then plummet towards the earth at mind-numbing speeds, do you merely want a sincere belief there is actually a working parachute in your backpack?  Of course not.  You want a true belief that your parachute is in full working order.  If you sincerely believe that your parachute works but you are sincerely wrong, you’ll look quite different once you land.

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An Evening with Atheists

Christians love talking about atheists. Generally, however, we’re less excited about talking to them. 

Well, one night last winter I set out to change that, at least in my own life. I attended an atheist gathering in my neighborhood.

But first I had to go online and join their “meet-up” group.

I remember my hand freezing on my computer mouse, unable to click the “join us” invitation. For a moment the cursor hovered over the button. Did I really want to do this?

I had already interviewed dozens of atheists for the book project I was working on, but most of my interviews had been conducted over the phone or via email. Somehow the prospect of sitting face to face with them was more intimidating. I wasn’t afraid of an intellectual assault. Yes, there would be plenty of God-bashing in these meetings, but I wasn’t likely to hear anything new. Thanks to my peculiar habit of reading reams of atheist literature, I’d heard most of the arguments against Christianity before, and all from the movement’s most eloquent spokespeople.  
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Ex-Christians 101

"Why are young people leaving the faith?"

Since I began writing a book on the topic of reaching young ex-Christians, I’ve faced this question repeatedly. The embarrassing truth is that I can’t answer it. At least not simply.

Ask most Christians the question, though, and the answer is easy: they leave because of moral compromise. A teenage girl goes off to college and starts to party. A young man moves in with his girlfriend. Soon the conflict between their beliefs and behavior becomes unbearable, and they drop their faith commitment. They may cite intellectual skepticism or disappointments with the church, but don’t be fooled. These are just excuses, smokescreens designed to hide their real reason for going astray. “They change their creed to match their conduct,” as my parents would say.

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Frank Pastore "Shattered" Livestream

Here is the Livestream interview with Frank Pastore direct from the KKLA studio. Frank is the host of The Frank Pastore Show, the most popular Christian talk show in the country, and the author of Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed (Tyndale House Publishers).

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Hitchens' Presumption of Meaning

Even though I don't agree with his ideas, I must admit Christopher Hitchens is a talented writer.  Here he writes an interesting account of his battle with cancer

What I find highly interesting, and inconsistent, is Hitchens' presumption of meaning.  Hitchens is an atheist.  In his worldview, any objective transcendent meaning to life or its events is utterly illusory.  No purpose here.  Just a random collision of atoms in this cold dark universe we call home.  Hitchens implies as much:  "To the dumb question 'Why me?' the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply:  Why not?"  "Why me?' is indeed a dumb question when there's nothing or no one to answer.

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Why Naturalism Is False (And Why It Matters) Part 2

In this concluding lecture, Dr Ordway reviews the concepts of naturalism and theism, and provides more reasons why it is rational to believe that theism, rather than naturalism, is true. (A teaser: mystery novels point to the existence of God -- and not in the way you might expect!) She concludes by reflecting on some of the negative consequences of naturalism as a worldview. Bad consequences do not themselves disprove naturalism, but they give a compelling reason why we should ask tough questions about naturalism rather than just accepting it without question. The truth matters.

Why Naturalism Is False (And Why It Matters) Part 1

According to the naturalistic worldview, God does not exist, miracles are impossible, and the entire created world just "happened" by random chance. Many people today accept naturalism -- often unknowingly -- but in fact it is completely false. In this talk, Dr. Holly Ordway explains the difference between naturalism and theism, and shows that there is a philosophical and logical argument for theism as opposed to naturalism. This lecture (and its second part) provide a foundation of apologetic argument for the existence of God that is based on what everyone can observe in the physical world around them.

Reality of the Resurrection -- Part 3

What do these facts point to?  That Jesus Christ is no longer dead.  His resurrection explains all five facts very well.  The minimal facts give us solid evidence He has risen indeed.  However, that won’t stop the skeptic from offering other explanations.  When you encounter one, remember this:  just because an alternative explanation is possible, it does not make it probable.  Anyone can give a different explanation but we want one that best fits the facts.  

For example, some scholars suggest the disciples stole Jesus’ body.  Does that fit the facts?  No way.  It doesn’t explain the resurrection appearances of Jesus.  It doesn’t explain Paul or James’ conversions.  Indeed, if the disciples stole Jesus’ body then they knew his resurrection was a hoax.  But why would they die for something they knew was false?  They wouldn’t and thus, we can discard this possible explanation.
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Beauty Points to Truth

One of the most memorable lines in English poetry appears in John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” in which the poet has his imagined Grecian vase speak directly to the reader, saying “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

That vase was on to something.

Beauty is not just... well, nice to look at. It’s important in a larger sense, because it points toward truth.

I live in Southern California, and my church, St. Michael’s by-the-Sea is named quite literally: you can see the Pacific Ocean from the church campus.

One particular morning I arrived at church as usual, pulled into the parking lot, got out, grabbed my purse, slammed the door shut, all on automatic pilot.

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