Save the Apologists Too

In the life of every person there is a defining moment. For the Christian apologist it comes in the form of compromise. As I have read many Christian apologists and as I try and interpret the subtext of their messages I spot some that seem to have compromised the Christian faith they are claiming to defend.

For some its rejecting biblical inerrancy in exchange for some kind of human authority; for some its leaving the biblical moral code for modern culture and all that it gives a person. That little moment is when we are one thing and we exchange it for another. Some think that being a Chameleon in Christian circles keeps one in the good graces of public opinion. But those folks don’t realize there are too many ‘sherlocks’ are out there and if they find you are saying one thing here and another over there, they quickly expose your change of colors and with it damage your reputation.

For me, I recognize Christian apologists get hit hard. If they engage the enemy of their souls for very long, they get scars. The battle rages on and only a few ever make it past the goal post without being tackled by bigger and stronger temptations. What can an apologist do these days? Who can support the category of apologists that have defined themselves as ‘in the know’ scientifically and decided that science and evolutionary theory are right, for them, the earth is very old and dinosaurs, men and animals all lived out their days dying and birthing…until some marked place in time where the actual count down to Christ began. Who can support the apologist that sits ‘in the know’ over his fellow apologists and inwardly laughs at the silliness of inerrancy or perspecuity. These apologists have no authoritative bible, just a bible that ‘other’s follow’ and their credentials concerning biblical texts, grammar, linguistics place them in a position to undermine anyone who believes what is written as it is written. For them, their appeal to a very small company of elite textuaries gives them a modern gnostic-style appeal. New converts only dream of understanding the bible, whereas these professionals dream of not knowing what they know.

The battle rages on, some think presuppositionalism is the end all, others the classical method, for others evidential methodology alone settles the issue with hard facts. Its time we realize we cannot know it all and no matter what methodology we choose, God has a part to play in it. We are wired in various ways, we think differently because we have learned how to arrive at trust-worthy conclusions differently from one another. For some, this potpourri will not suffice because for them it’s a compromise to add or subtract one or more methodologies. This is why Fideism is beat like a step-child by most apologists…yet are not miracles a defining mark of the supernatural God we love and serve? Yes, they would all say, but miracles cannot be easily categorized as doctrine, heresy, principle or philosophy. God’s “at-will” workings fit no mold and for those Christian-Humeans (David Hume thinkers) who reject miracles for lack of evidence it must be hard to read a bible with miracles and promises that “greater works shall you do” when someone in your tribe has declared such power and gifts died with the apostles.

There’s no lack of difficulties today for the apologist. The best most Christian apologists can do is remain faithful to the scripture, remain faithful to their denominations, creeds or confessions, remain faithful to their own logic and philosophy and pray…if they do pray, that God would forgive their stupidity and grant them grace to persevere in the face of little to no help from their own Churches. Why no help from their Churches? Because usually in any congregation there might only be one or maybe three that enjoy apologetics and seek to grow in it in order to be useful to their own congregations and the Church at large. But if there are difficulties, who can empathize with them? Only the Lord Jesus himself. The pastors are usually not interested, besides (what could an apologist know about Christian battles?) the leadership knows the apologist is way past their own basic knowledge of scripture and they know the apologist needing help will recognize the trite and clique’ words they offer to others.

Sometimes the apologist wants to be loved for just being in the battle, he/she wants to be acknowledged as trying to be a front-line soldier, engaging the enemy where he lives and in what he says about Christ, the Church and the scriptures. The apologist might want someone to just care about them.

You see, no matter if you are an apologist and you subscribe to O.E.C. and hold to human authority as the final strength of your argument; or, if you are Y.E.C. you are known for believing a bible that many say you cannot substantiate through science, or you are a believer in the bible, but the bible is not inerrant to you, or you think that there is no hell, or you think miracles are gone the way of the Dodo, as genuine and true believers in Christ ( generalizing the true Christian apologist) you are doing what you can with with God gave you. Every apologist takes his shots from both apologist and  unbelievers. When you go to bed, tired from the battle from unbelievers and being beat on from other believers, the Christian apologist vainly sleeps knowing he has very few friends and even less supporters. A man can even have a wife that cannot fathom why anyone would want to debate, argue, rationalize, study, learn, interpret and weigh out the thoughts of so many enemies to the faith…for no earthly rewards whatsoever. The Christian woman apologist may be in the exact same shoes and even less supporters among her girlfriends. For all the Christian apologist claims to know, he knows very few front line soldiers that don’t mistake him for the enemy.

Apologetic conventions…I’d love to attend one. But you wonder that its a misnomer; Christian apologists are hardly ever pack hunters, they are usually all guerrillas in the spiritual battle.  Ever seen a herd of Christian apologists? Not likely…you can spot a pastoral convention with a hundred cars in the parking lot, you can recognize a gathering of sheep to pray, study scripture or be taught…but try and find an apologist support group and you will run out of gas or ‘gigs’ looking for one.

Christian apologists love to ‘iron sharpens iron’ however, when our fellow apologist come in bloody from the battle, the last thing they need is ‘sharpening’, they need some compassion and some tenderness.

As a Christian Apologist…a 50 cent one…Save your fellow apologists too, not just the angry atheist, the loony cultist or the misguided Christian. Save your Christian apologist, recognize they can be misguided, unbelieving, angry, frustrated, disappointed, hated, misunderstood, rejected and most of all the kind of Christian that other Christians would say “see ya….wouldn’t want to be ya”.

Some Christians dare to stand next to the Christian Apologist and offer pot-shots at enemies to the faith. They laugh and pretend to some sort of superiority because they supposedly know something someone else does not. The investment in real academics for the sake of Christ and the lost does not lead the Christian Apologist to make ‘potshots’ at an enemy of the faith. He knows well, the enemies of the faith do not die from the vitriol of trolls, they die because the Holy Spirit used Spirit directed words to break down the strong-holds within the mind of a sinner. He knows the Spirit of God must do the work only God can do and must do in order for the Apologist’s words to be of any effect at all.

If there was ever an argument for the ‘perfect’ not yet here, the Christian apologist and all they are and do must testify to the imperfections of men. Even with bible in hand, we know in part and we prophecy in part, we see through a glass darkly, though face to face, we do not know as we are known.  We do not live with such knowledge now and those who would dare to claim they hold perfection, that perfection has not taken them or their flocks past partial truth, incomplete knowledge and for certain they cannot foretell a future with unbelief as the signature in black.

 

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LOOKING INTO THE VOID

nothingness

 

Personal experience

As a Christian Apologist its difficult to understand at times what makes the Atheist tick. Over the years I’ve come to understand some basics of how atheism works in people. I was an atheist while I was growing up, my mom was a strong atheist and would have nothing to do with religion or religious people. I learned from the outset that religion was to be mocked and relegated to unproved and unsubstantiated claims. It seemed God was an idea not thought-through. I had many questions for the theist growing up, but I never met one where I could articulate my questions and expect any kind of reasonable answer. My distance from religious people was not one that I created or even my mom, I just never grew up around religious people that would share their faith or question me about mine.

Atheism must grow to survive

Of course not everyone shares that estrangement from religious people, others grew up in homes that were Christian or Catholic and they always had doubts about God and the bible. For a while they acquiesced to their parents and Christian friends at church but those nagging questions and uncertainty sat powerfully upon the throne of intellect. After a while atheism for them was the adolescent quintessential rebellion, it struck at everything around them and formed a world of isolation. This isolation is the pairing up of what was in their hearts and what they were now experiencing by going against the tide of Christian upbringing. It takes strength to swim against the norm, atheism in the heart could not be just a simple ‘uncertainty’ it must have greater horsepower in order to survive the Christian assumptions of God, the authority of the bible, the morals of the Christian and the meta-narratives of creation, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and many other Christian teachings.

What is the Void?

What the young atheist needs is a way to find freedom from all constraints in order to garner all the horsepower one can from a belief that describes itself as unbelief. Enter the Void. This is a mental construct that is placed upon the throne of the heart to reign supreme. What is it? Negatively it is a rejection of all moral constraint, all religious authority, all personal bonds with any ideology that attempts to bind their conscience to a code of ethics or morality that impinges their free expression. Positively it is the personal construction of a mindset that unbinds itself from genuine logic or reasoning that pushes them back into religion or ideologies they have renounced. Here in the Void logic need not be true logic, reasoning need not be coherent, irrationalism is never exposed to the light of actual logic. The Void is a suppressed conscience validated by the emotional state protected by the intellect.

Atheism must reject sound reason

There is a lot of work that goes into maintaining the supreme power of the Void when the intellect is assaulted by sound reason and valid logic every day. In order to maintain the Void, the atheist must become a spin-master. When I say he must, that is an understatement, he absolutely under no circumstances can permit the entry of valid reasoning or logical argument that questions the authority of the Void and its right to hold such a sway in his/her life. In short, as amazing as this seems, the atheist which glories in proclaiming himself the logician and sits in judgment over vast multitudes as reasoner-extraordinaire, cannot allow the entry of valid argument and logical conclusions move him/her from abandoning the Void.

The atheist it seems identifies him/herself with the Void to such an extent all information is sifted through the grid of “Void-protection”…kinda like a virus protection program for a computer where every program is checked and every file scrutinized to protect the internal information from corruption.

Atheist maintenance

This is where the work must begin, in order to keep up the pretense of Atheism-is-logical, the atheist must engage in the dangerous occupation of listening too and articulating a logical argument and display valid reasoning. The problem of course is not seen immediately. You find many atheists who argue very persuasively and many people reading or listening to them find their logic and reasoning sound, verifiable and coherent. But, using the evolution analogy the micro-evolution or adaptation equivalent to minor atheist claims eg. gods have been found false, religions oppressive and superstitions harmful, are valid claims. But atheism itself wants the whole enchilada, it wants to validate itself with a jump to macro-evolution which is equivalent to saying  those smaller generalizations inductively prove atheism as an ‘unbelief’ is founded upon science, logic and evidences which cannot be denied. However, when the Christian goes beyond the first defense of intellectual battles and recognizes their defeat is actual even though they claim-in-chains they have won; the emotional battle begins. Now all bets are off; logic, reason and evidence serve no purpose for the atheist. It must be understood the Christian is under strict rules not to break the laws of logic, but that does not apply to the atheist, nor will he permit it to apply to him/her. A double standard is paramount in atheist conversations where emotion is the attacker.

Protect the Void by all means

The atheist is nuanced, he/she has a Void that is purely their own and has no authority outside of itself. This is partly why we read of so many atheists that will not align with any other atheist to protect the Void. The atheist own personal intellect  is the sole guard and has been entrusted with that duty. Atheists band together for the peripherals eg. evolution, gay rights, leftist agendas. These activities are the first defense, albeit the weakest. The intellect of the atheist can agree with other atheist intellect to form a common alliance for the purpose of protecting the Void within each of them. This is where the Christian often meets with the front-lines of atheism, when anti-theist claims are made, the Christian fights against those claims, or when evolution is promoted the Christian resists with anti-evolutionary counter-claim. But, again the Void is never actually questioned at all. The atheist can talk all day long and invent myriads of assertions and claims that contain no substantive argument or evidence. The atheist may join ranks with another atheist on an intellectual level for the sole purpose of attacking the Christian and yet personally hold no other commonality than the defense of their own personal Void.

The Void has its reasons

Remember the Void itself is the engine that powers all of the arguments and produces the desire to reject anything that endangers the Void.  Remember also that the Void is not a logical choice, its an emotional action who’s sole purpose is to suppress the internal knowledge of God, truth, logic and anything else that disrupts the emotional state and draws the mind into conclusions it cannot accept. At the base of many atheist arguments you hear this. My mom died…God should have; I was alone, afraid and victimized…God could have; I am unloved, unwanted, rejected…where is God? These difficult scenarios are encountered by us all, but some at their darkest hour wanted to believe, but their hopes were crushed and with that there arose an anger that ‘rejected God back’ for what happened to them. After years, these scenarios have been overlaid with intellectual argument that compares to the strata of the Grand Canyon. This is only one type of person that chose the Void, there are others. The point here is not to psychoanalyze the atheist, its to recognize the chosen Void that set them free ( in their opinion) to live how they want is completely self-serving. It seems the real purpose of the Void is for self-preservation and atheism is one aspect or avenue the mind can use to deal with reality. If any atheist is reading this right now and says “religion does all of these things too”. That would be true, the difference of course is humanly devised religion invents a god while rejecting the true God. The invented god is one that is tame, one that is predictable and always one that is accepting of their own personal proclivities. Its an opposite method using the same principles found in atheism. For this reason Christianity is opposed to false religions equally as much as atheism; they both deny the One True God and replace Him with alternative solutions.

Atheism and its intellectual arguments are smoke-screen

From the most advanced and intellectual Christian Apologist to the novice Christian believer, they both know that atheism and false religions are suppressors of the truth which permit the person who is suppressing the knowledge of God to have emotional stability while he endeavors to please himself however he wills.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

It is the experience of every Christian who debates or engages in conversations with Atheists or Agnostics that suppression of the truth is the very heart of the Void. What other group of people declare how wise they are in logic, reason and science than the atheist? I know of none. What other group of people see without perceiving  refuse to give thanks to God nor acknowledge him or his creative power than the atheist? What other people are to be so pitied and so lamented as the atheist? Who among men in our culture are so backwards in their thinking, so illogical and so irrational as the atheist? I can think of no other people group that pretend to so high of intellectual and rational thinking but internally they are in a chaotic world, lost and scared. Oh the smoke screens are up, the actors are on stage, the masks are on and the directors are guiding the cast. But the play must come to an end and the actors eventually remove the masks step off the stage and join the audience.

The gospel is the power of God unto Salvation

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

This is Paul’s words to the Romans before he commenced to illustrate the downfall of pagan men. The best Christian apologist cannot remove the Void, we cannot nullify irrational arguments with rationality. We cannot introduce enough logic to persuade the illogical man/woman that its ok to abandon their need for self-preservation. In short, they would die first…and that my dear Christian is the genuine call of discipleship and biblical salvation. It is recognizing that until we all come to grips with dying to self that God will lavish His love upon us and pour out grace after grace and bring faith and hope and love into empty lives.

Eph 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Eph 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—
Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

ESV.

For a remarkable and first rate explanation of Atheism please visit this blog where I took the term ‘Void’ and used it to clarify my own understanding of atheism.

http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2013/01/principles-of-atheism-part-1.html 

 

 

 

 

Scientism an unsatisfying and unreasonable account of everything

http://whyjesusblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/scientism-an-unsatisfying-and-unreasonable-account-of-everything/#more-124

This is a well done short article written by hertzsprung2012 dealing with the failings of Scientism. Those who endorse scientism are rarely ever able to defend it, but they sure do claim its the answer-all. Its a short read and worth the time.

Christianity offers how to interpret the World

pascal adding machine

Scripture and the Church offer a cumulative amount of arguments to offer this skeptical world that God exists.
It isn’t that these arguments prove God deductively, its that fact that Christianity offers the most reasonable and cohesive interpretation of how the world works. It offers reasons for how humanity works, and answers better than any other religion how scientific discoveries relate to God’s creation. All other religions pale into insignificance in comparison to Christianity.

The Ontological argument= God is the explanation of innate knowledge of transcendence.
The Teleological argument= God is the explanation for order in the universe.
The Cosmological argument= God is the explanation for creation
The Transcendental argument= God is the explanation for Logic, mathematics.
The Anthropological argument= God is the explanation for mans yearning and consciousness of God
The Moral argument= God is the explanation for objective moral truth.
The Argument for Desire= The appreciation for Beauty, Order, Peace all temporal in this world point to another world where human desire will be satisfied fully.

For the Christian these arguments are wrapped up in scripture and authored by God. The ordinary Christian need go no further than “Thus saith the Lord” to acquire validation for holding these truths. To those who are born of God, the reality of Christ as Savior, Lord and Creator are side-by-side with the reality of physical things. The Christian is the ‘only’ one that can make sense of science, theology, faith and fact without contradiction. Let no skeptic, no atheist, no agnostic tell the Christian that the believers have skewed understanding of reality. Scientism and Materialism in the minds of unbelievers have such short wings they fly only as far as they can continue to suppress the truth in themselves and no farther.