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Quick reference: The failure points of popular skepticism
I've written a lot on these subjects in detail, so this is more of an 'apologetics quick starter guide' to my Christian friends and readers of this blog. I've learned all of this first-hand, and want to pass this on in the hopes it will be helpful to you when the times of doubt or the attacks of skeptics and New Atheists come at you.
These are what I have found are the 'failure points' of popular skepticism, in other words, facts that are devastating to the claims of the most popular and vocal atheists and skeptics today (again, not all skeptics and atheists, but many of them).
Jesus existed, was crucified, the tomb was empty, and hundreds of people saw Him afterward.
These are undisputed facts among the true experts in the field of New Testament-era history and Bible scholars. Have the skeptic look this up for themselves, don't take anyone's word for it. Without fail, the vocal proponents of the Jesus myth (and all of its associated tenets) are entirely outside of the field of credentialed scholars and historians. Who will you believe, the people with PhDs and peer-reviewed papers who have spent their entire careers studying the material, or impromptu authors and bloggers with no credentials in the discipline other than a popular book, web site or appearance on TV?
Good sources include Gary Habermas, Michael Licona, Paul Maier, Bruce Metzger and even the agnostic Bart Ehrman.
The Bible is considered one of the best records of ancient history in existence.
Again - make this inquiry to the true credentialed experts, not the popular self-made bloggers and authors with no credentials.
Belief in God is rational and logical.
The Kalam Cosmological Argument. The Fine Tuning Argument. The Moral Argument. I could list these all day. William Lane Craig's site Reasonable Faith is probably the best online resource to learn about these and many others. Listen to the debates on Youtube between Craig, Licona, Habermas, Lennox and the skeptics of our day. Christianity stands up to the tests! Though a skeptic might be able to attempt to argue with some of these concepts, these principles are nonetheless logically well-established.
Don't ever let a skeptic say to you that faith is completely irrational, illogical and without evidence. Anyone saying so simply reveals his or her ignorance in the subject matter.
An unanswered question doesn't mean there is no answer.
Faith does not require answers to all of the tough questions. No Christian knows all of the answers. It is irrational to expect all matters of faith to be completely understood. Even so, the answer to a tough question is out there somewhere, even if it remains unknown to us in our lifetime. And this is not to mention the fact that atheism has plenty of tough questions itself that have mostly gone unanswered (or at least unacknowledged)! Am I going to throw away my faith because I can't answer a few questions about theology or science? No - I'm content to live with those unanswered questions in light of what I *do* know.
Stumping an uneducated or ill-equipped Christian is not an excuse to disbelieve.
In the internet era, the skeptic can no longer claim that winning a debate with an ill-informed Christian, even a pastor, proves anything. If the skeptic is interested in answers, they have Google just like everyone does. They shouldn't be afraid of what they might learn if they really dig for the truth.
Finding examples of Christians who have committed evil acts does not prove Christianity was the cause of the acts.
Listing all of the instances of Christians in the world committing evil acts doesn't prove anything. We could easily compile an equally-long list of non-believers doing the same things. All this proves is that it is humans that do bad things. These lists of 'harm done by religion' fail to show how a person's Christianity caused or is some way connected to all of these acts. What the skeptic often fails to realize is that evil acts done by Christians are done in blatant opposition to what the Bible teaches. It is the Christian's defiance of the principles of Christianity that results in evil acts! If a skeptic tells me that "Christians can do evil things", guess what: I completely agree with them, and so does the Bible!
Christianity teaches that all of us are fallen, sinful people in need of a Savior. That sinful capacity does not go away when one becomes a Christian. For the Christian, every day is a battle that even the best of us lose from time to time. A Christian is not excused in sinning, but the fact that Christians sin is not a rational basis for rejecting Christianity.
The most vocal and influential skeptics fail to turn their critical thinking inward.
For many skeptics, 'critical thinking' is a one-way street directed only toward Christianity. The fact that so many skeptics believe things like the Jesus myth, or that faith is irrational, shows that they spend zero time directing their 'critical thinking' back at their own views. Citing someone like Kenneth Humphreys or the 'Internet Infidels' of our day is intellectually inexcusable. Demand that the skeptic attacking Christianity cite the sources behind their claim, and what you find will be revealing.
New Atheists turn logic, reason and evidence into hollow buzzwords.
Too often, the terms 'logic', 'reason' and 'evidence' are substituted for actual logic, reason and evidence, as if those words are exclusively claimed by atheism. Don't let a skeptic tell you that logic, reason and evidence point to atheism. Make him or her show you, and make them cite their sources! That's a lot more difficult to pull off.
New Atheism will falter as more Christians educate themselves.
Don't be discouraged if the tide seems to be turning against Christians in our culture. I believe a resurgence in Christianity is inevitable as more of us 'study to show ourselves approved' (2 Timothy 2:15) and more people become truly rational and discerning toward good information and bad. Many of the foundational tenets of New Atheism are simply false, or at best gross distortions of the truth. The Christian that educates him/herself on the history of the Bible and the logical reasons to believe in God will not be vulnerable to the attacks on the faith common today.
Faith is ultimately a spiritual battle that cannot be won entirely by apologetics.
Why do so many skeptics believe questionable information against Christianity? Why don't they question their own views and claims the same way they question Christianity? I believe it's not entirely their doing. We are fighting a battle with spirtual forces at work. Keep in mind that in the end, while logic, reason and evidence are important, it ultimately has little to do with why someone believes or disbelieves.
Life is short, and the same earthly fate awaits all of us.
The fact that we are all headed for the same end-of-life event should make someone take the claims of Christianity seriously. To the skeptic, I say: reject it if you must, but *at least* reject it based on good arguments and true information. How tragic it is to reject Christ based on dubious information and bad arguments. It's not about the USA's heritage, not about moral laws nor comfort in a like-minded society. In the end, faith is a personal decision that has infinite implications for you alone.
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