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Apologetics: The Defense of the Faith

Apologetics can easily turn into a ping pong game of political beliefs instead of a mature discussion of the philosophy of religion. "It is implied that to defend Christianity is to belittle non-Christian religions, which is unacceptable in a multicultural society. Especially to those of liberal political convictions, the multicultural agenda demands that religions, in order to avoid the dangers of imperialism and triumphalism, should not be permitted to make truth-claims. Indeed there is a widespread perception that the rejection of religious pluralism entails intolerance or unacceptable claims to exclusivity. In effect, the liberal political agenda dictates that all religions should be treated on equal footing. It is but a small step from this political judgment to the theological declaration that all religions are the same. But is there any reason for progressing from the entirely laudable and acceptable demand that we should respect religions other than our own to the more radical demand that we regard them all as equally valid manifestations of some eternal or 'spiritual' dimension to life?" [McGrath, Alister E., Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths, p. 110-111 ]

Are all religions basically the same? How do Buddhism, Hinduism, Jesus, New Age and Islam differ? Visit:

Connecting with the Divine * * This link leaves our web site.


The Problem of Suffering

This problem usually boils down to 3 propositions:

a. God is omnipotent
b. God is completely good
c. There is suffering and evil in the world

Is there a logical flaw here like Descartes thought? Fortunately not, the God that Descartes described is of his own invention, and is not the God of the Bible. He invented his own concept of God instead of learning about who God really is. So let's move on to his false underlying assumptions:

d. A good and omnipotent God could eliminate suffering entirely
e. There could not be morally sufficient reasons for God permitting suffering

The trick is that omnipotence does not mean that God can do anything he likes as he has given man free-will. Suffering is a consequence of the greater gifts of a mortal life and freedom. It is not a commitment on God's part to our pursuit of pleasure. [McGrath, p.103-104]

C. S. Lewis deals with this in detail in his book The Problem of Pain.



Is the existence of God just wishful thinking?

This is the idea that our own needs have led us to invent the concept of God [McGrath, p. 94]. Have we created God in the image of the needs and longings of the human soul? So said Ludwig Feuerbach (1804 - 1872) and Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939). Or is it possible that we are only saying that we have created the concept of God because we have never experienced God himself but just our perception of what a God should be? McGrath [ p. 95].

Did the resurrection occur?

Was this a probable event? Are the witnesses reliable? Is it relevant to life? These three questions are stumbling blocks to many people.

Was Christ God incarnate?

Is the idea of god coming to earth in a human package a proper and legitimate interpretation of the life of Jesus of Nazareth? Is this a self contradictory idea like the "square circle" put forth by Espinoza or is our knowledge of the natural world and reality fragmentary at best? Quantum physics seems paradoxical but is in reality just enormously complex. No one is abandoning quantum theory because of the difficulty of modeling the behaviors involved. [McGrath, p. 124]

What about the concepts of sin and salvation? Saved from what!?

Don't I have the right to run my own life? Is sin a relic of a bygone age? Is it an act of omission or commission or is it an underlying state of being? [McGrath, p. 133- 134]

Quotes from the book Intellectuals Don't Need God and Other Modern Myths by Alister E. McGrath.


Need more info on Apologetics? Visit the Ministry web page links or pick up a copy of Alister E. McGrath's book Intellectuals Don't Need God.

Intellectual Barriers to Faith

I could hardly do a better job here than has already been done by Mr. Alister McGrath in his book Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths. Chapter 5 is devoted to the common misconceptions which create intellectual barriers to faith. So I strongly recommend that you read this entire chapter. Try your college's or your town's local library and see if you can find a copy. If you can not, then perhaps you are beginning to realize how the western liberal political agenda has a monopoly on your universities' and your libraries' choice of books.

  There is a tendency in western liberal intellectual circles to reduce all religions to an equally valid perception of the truth. Many try to stuff all religions into a "black box" which at first sounds laudable. After all we are trying to respect different religious views. However a closer examination shows the futility of this method. In the following paragraphs quoted from McGrath, he puts forth two propositions to discuss this notion:

"A. Different people have different religious views.

 B. Therefore all religious views are equally valid
.

Is proposition B in any way implied by proposition A? For the form of liberalism committed to this approach, mere existence of a religious idea appears to be a guarantor of its truth! Yet no one seems prepared to fight for the truth content of defunct religions, such as classical polytheism - perhaps because there is no one alive who is committed to them, whose views need to be respected in a multicultural situation.

The fatal weakness of this approach usually leads to a modified version, which can be stated thus: "any view that is held with sincerity may be regarded as true." I might thus be a Nazi, a Satanist, or a passionate believer in the flatness of the earth. My sincerity is a guarantee of the truth. It would follow if someone believed that modern Europe would be a better place if six million Jews were to be placed in gas chambers, the sincerity of those convictions allow that view to be accepted as true. British philosopher of religion John Hick summarizes the absurdity of this view: 'To say that whatever is sincerely believed and practiced is, by definition true, would be the end of all critical discrimination, both intellectual and moral.' " [McGrath, p. 111 ].

In fact the above assumption that sincerity justifies all gives us a perfect right to invent a religion which only exists to make money for us, because we sincerely want to make money. It also gives someone a right to slaughter millions of Christians if they are annoying us with misunderstood concepts of sin, salvation, or a higher moral standard.

Some philosophers, such as Hicks may also make statements such as all religions lead to God in the sense that they are all varying human experiences of the same infinite divine reality. So he suggests that religions may be understood to complement each other. Hence for Hicks, the ultimate perfect perception of reality can be distilled from an amalgamation of these various flavors of truth.

However, some religions are polytheistic, some are monotheistic, and others\ are nontheistic [McGrath, p.111]. Therefore it is hardly logical to say that all views are equally valid. These three different opinions on how many Gods there are, if there are any at all, can not all be true at once. When one takes the time to think about all the beliefs that are out there, an honest intellectual must agree that just the definition of the word religion is practically impossible.

Christianity doesn't fit a very convenient mold. It claims to have only one way to God the Father. It claims that the savior Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after dying to save us from the penalty of our sin. At first and second glance, the basic concepts don't make much sense. They are not probable events or easy to grasp precepts. However upon the most rigorous investigation, the entire system of salvation devised by God is logical and consistent. It is said that man could not write the Bible if he would, and he would not write the Bible if he could. God tells it like it is, however uncomfortable the truth is. What other religion addresses the problems of man's mortality, man's failures, sufferings, loneliness, stupidity, and vanity as well as Christianity? Christ is the only one with an empty tomb. Lon Solomon, a pastor in McLean Virginia, is fond of saying "Follow a dead savior and you'll end up just like him."

Apologetics means never
having to say you're sorry that you're a Christian!

Learn how to defend your faith. A critical examination of Christian doctrine will strengthen your views.

Beware the hidden liberal political agendas which turn into religious prejudices without warning.

Web page author Jackie Mulrooney

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The anti-Christian western liberal political philosophies present on secular campuses across the country is infertile, dry, rocky soil for Christian growth. Find an oasis!

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