“Evidence is only as good as one’s presuppositions. A man who believes there is a Watchmaker could be convinced with the simplest timepiece found by the sea. But one who refuses to believe in a Watchmaker could trip over a million Rolex’s lying scattered on the sand, yet deny the golden evidence being defaced beneath his feat.” – A. Baker
Category Archives: Apologetics
Because it is a rainy Monday, and since I’ve much to do, here is a re-post made from the car.
Last night I was scrolling through the Facebook posts of a friend. Actually, I wouldn’t exactly call the person a “friend” as much as a former acquaintance. The person I used to know as a young, vibrant Christian student, one who boldly proclaimed his faith, has now become proud doubter.
Look, let me be the first to say that moments of doubt are not uncommon, and far be it from me to cast judgment on those who do. I have had my moments of doubt, and there have been many times when I’ve had to pray, “Lord, help my unbelief.” But one thing I’ve never done is boast about my doubting. G0d forbid!
Yet, as I scrolled through the posts and the comments of my young friend of years gone by, what I saw was one who was proud of the fact that he felt free enough to doubt, even to allow his doubts to affect what he believed about God.
A Blown Mind
Come to find out, my young friend has been doing some study. He has become fascinated with astronomy, specifically the “Big Bang.” As many have done, he has proudly ditched the supposed illiterate belief in a Young Earth creation and taken off full bore down the road of “true” science. He has been blown away by the scientific “evidence” that led him not only to doubt his earlier beliefs, but to look forward to other areas in which his understanding of God may be changed.
In other words, because of what my young friend has now learned, he is looking forward to the de-grandeurization of his God.
If you will remember, it was Satan, in the Garden of Eden, who posed the first doubt-inducing question, “Did God…?” This led to Eve questioning the motives of her Creator.
Unfortunately, developments in modern science have been used in the very same way to create doubt, to cause believers to question the abilities of their Creator. They look at the marvelous works of creation and ultimately conclude that it was natural forces which created what we now see, not God. By doing so, they unwittingly fall prey to the gradual undermining of their faith, going from one “enlightening” conclusion to another, saying: “Well, if what I believed there is not true, then what else about God is not true?”
They proudly march forward with a presupposition of doubt leading the way, redefining God and His creation.
But here’s the thing: Psalm 19:1 says that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Even more, Psalm 97:6 says, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.”
Is the universe expanding? Yes, it is. But what does that necessarily mean about God? The universe is expanding, and men are made up of the same elements found in stars. Does this mean that believing God created the heavens, including man, “as is” is out of the realm of possibility?
The God I serve is so big, so powerful, so awesome, so grand that when He said, “Let there be…” it was. There’s no reason to doubt, even if it doesn’t all make sense.
After all, the grandeur of creation was created out of nothing. If God could do that, then nothing is impossible for Him. Science doesn’t have to disprove anything; it should be declaring.
I’m a proud believer.
Footprint 1: Hey! You look just like me!
Footprint 2: Yeah. So?
F1: I just think it’s cool, because we must have been made by the same Walker.
F2: Excuse me? You believe in a Walker? Are you an idiot?
F1: Uh, well, it would seem logical to assume that since we are both footprints, there must be a Walker who made us…at least Someone with feet.
F2: You’re full of fungus, you uneducated, illiterate, mind-numbed hole in the ground! Show me the proof! Go ahead, I’m waiting. Where’s your proof there’s a Walker?
F1: You’re being serious, aren’t you?
F2: Of course! You come aroun here bothering me with all this talk of a Walker who made me, but where is he? Where’s your proof he exists?
F1: You. Me.
F2: Jesus Christ! Oh my god!! Is that the best you’ve got? You simpleton! I could give you a thousand reasons why we are here, why we look like footprints, without having to resort to such superstitious hypotheticals like a Walker.
F1: OK, Dr. Shoal, tickle me.
F2: Oh, you’re boring me! Look, we only look like footprints because you want there to be a Walker. You can’t be happy just being here; you have to think you were made for a reason. In reality, you are just a hole in the sand that happens to look like what might have been made should a Walker exist. But you have no proof he exists. Show me the evidence! You can’t!
F1: You are the evidence. I am the evidence.
F2: I don’t accept your evidence. Actually, I would rather believe you and I are the result of higher life forms from outer space. Runners. Possibly Joggers.
F1: But believing there’s a Walker is crazy?
F2: Of course! You’re just a nut, that’s all.
F1: I still say there’s a Walker.
F2: Show me the evidence.
F1: Good grief!
Here is just another example of insight into the human psyche gained while driving a school bus. Enjoy!
One morning, after picking up several young children, one little boy – a kindergartener – began to sing one of his most favorite songs…”Let It Go.”
Another little boy who was sitting next to him, a second-grader, began pleading with him to stop, after which he begged me to intervene. I couldn’t help it – I had to……let it go, let it go!
The younger boy (Boy 1) was singing the theme song from Frozen, to which the older boy (Boy 2) responded with his own lyrics: “Shuh uht up! Shuh uht up! I don’t want you to sing anymo oh ore!”
Me: What’s wrong? Don’t you like Frozen?
Boy 2: NO! It’s a stupid movie!
Me: What, you don’t like singing snowmen? What about Frosty the Snowman?
Boy 2: I like Frosty, but he was real! Somebody put a hat on him and he started moving.
Me: So, you don’t like Olaf?
Boy 2: I like him, OK, but he’s not real…not like Frosty.
Seriously, if I made this stuff up it wouldn’t be as funny.
You know, the above story is sort of like arguments adults have. One particular argument that comes to mind is the one about where life on earth came from (I know the analogy isn’t perfect, but I hope you get the point).
Man 1: I love to sing about Creation! “Oh Lord my God, when I in awestruck wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made!“
Man 2: Stop it! I don’t want to hear all that nonsense! Sing something else, or sing nothing at all.
Man 1: But I wan’t to sing! “Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee. ‘How great thou Art! How great Thou art!“
Man 2: STOP IT! I don’t want to hear it! God is NOT great! God is NOT great! He doesn’t even exist!
Man 1: Yes, He does! And because He created me and gave me life, I want to give Him praise.
Man 2: Oh, give me a break! I love life as much as anyone, if not more, but I’m not going to praise your God for it!
Man 1: Oh, really? You believe that human life evolved from something that came from nothing? Do you really want to sing praises to nothingness?
Man 2: Don’t be silly! Haven’t you ever heard of panspermia?
Man 1: Uh, no. Not really.
Man 2: You simpleton! You naive worshipper of a mythical fairy-god! You’re nothing but a slave to a worthless, iron-age book of man-made fiction. Life on earth didn’t evolve from nothing; it was planted here by intelligent life from beyond, from outer space.
Man 1: Right! You mean God?
Man 2: No! You idiot! Aliens!
Man 1: Huh? But…
Man 2: Shut up! I don’t wan’t to hear any more of your foolishness! God is not real; aliens are!
(Video of Richard Dawkins defending the theory of panspermia: the theory that alien intelligent life, not a Creator God, placed life on this planet.)
Uhmm…OK… Let it go! Let it go!
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” – Hebrews 11:3
Have you ever doubted? If you have you’re not alone. Sometimes it’s the wise thing to do. But did Jesus’ disciples ever doubt? Let’s find out.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. – Matthew 28:16-17
Many people have placed faith in Jesus only to lose that faith later, like when they find out the Jesus they thought they knew was not who he claimed to be. Are you one of those?
Believe it or not, even some of the disciples of the real Jesus found themselves doubting when they saw Him face to face after His resurrection. In the book of Matthew we read that on one particular occasion, after meeting up with the disciples at a pre-determined location, most worshiped, but “some doubted.”
Wait! How is this possible?! Weren’t these the same guys who saw Jesus appear to them when they were hiding, afraid for their lives (Luke 24:36; John 20:19)? Even doubting Thomas finally believed (John 20:28), so who were the the ones doubting in Matthew 28? Could it have been one of them? Possibly, or maybe even one of those who may have tagged along.
Here’s what I think happened. The disciples were gathered together, Jesus miraculously appeared, and before He could speak the crowd began to worship Him. Some, however, were a little skeptical; they had seen things before, including fakes, charlatans, and impostors. Who was to say what they saw was really Jesus Himself?
What convinced the doubters, then? I believe it was when Jesus spoke.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:18-20
It’s not like this was the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples, causing not only doubt, but also stark terror. Remember when He walked on the water?
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. – Matthew 14:26
It took Jesus speaking to calm down the frightened boatmen…
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. – Matthew 14:27
Is it possible that some of the disciples present when Jesus met up with them on that mountain had a right to be skeptical? I mean, hey, wasn’t Jesus himself who earlier warned the disciples that “false Christs” and “false prophets” would arise, deceivers so convincing that, “if it were possible, they [would] deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22)?
Matthew doesn’t exactly say what happened to those who doubted, but I have my suspicions. I believe it was when Jesus spoke that their doubts disappeared. On the other hand, if they still doubted, maybe they were only there for the bagels and mountain air.
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. – John 10:25-28
It was never Jesus’ plan to convince to the world of who He is by physically appearing to everyone. As a matter of fact, Jesus told Thomas, “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
The Word made flesh (John 1:1) gave us His Word (the Bible). So, when in doubt, read and listen to His voice.
In a recent Facebook post a friend of a friend posted a meme created by John Fugelsang, the actor, Huffington Post contributor, and former co-host of America’s Funniest Home Videos (1998-99). The meme was posted in an effort to show how that Jesus Christ, if He were politically active in today’s America, would more likely be a liberal Democrat than a conservative Republican.
Mr. Fugelsang uses his meme (if he was actually the one who created it) to state ten assertions regarding who Jesus was and what He believed. For ease of reading and future commentary by me, I’ve listed them below (punctuation intact).
According to John Fugelsang (and, by extension, the friend of a friend on Facebook) Jesus was a:
- Radical nonviolent revolutionary
- Who hung around with lepers hookers and crooks;
- Wasn’t American and never spoke English;
- Was anti-wealth anti-death penalty anti-public prayer (M 6:5);
- But was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control,
- Never called the poor lazy,
- Never justified torture,
- Never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes,
- Never asked a leper for a copay;
- And was a long-haired brown-skinned homeless community-organizing anit-slut-shaming Middle Eastern Jew.
Before I go any further, I must address Mr. Fugelsang’s punctuation. You see, I am not a grammar Nazi, nor am I a punctuation prodigy, but sometimes a point can better be made if one would pay attention to the proper use of commas. For example, without commas it could be inferred that Jesus hung around with the hooks and crooks which belonged to lepers. As for “anti-gay anti-death penalty anti-public prayer,” that simply makes my head hurt.
Now, to the ten assertions…
Radical nonviolent revolutionary. First, how many radical non-violent revolutionaries are there? I guess they exist here and there, but are they really that common? I mean, once you put radical and revolutionary together, specifically with the qualifier of “liberal,” how many are not violent? Jeez! However, that’s only based upon my own observations, so I’m happy to be proven wrong.
However, the question that ought to be asked first is: “Was Jesus really a revolutionary?” I don’t believe He was. For one thing, most revolutionaries are focused on bringing about change within a political system – Jesus’ purpose in coming had nothing to do with any political system. Then secondly, it is clear from Jesus’ own words that He did not come to change or do away with anything, only to fulfill it.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17 KJV
[He] hung around with lepers, hookers, and crooks (punctuation added). One of the biggest misconceptions about Jesus is that because He chose not to stone anyone for things like adultery (John 8:11) He must have had no problem with their actions. The problem with that assertion is that it totally avoids his command to “go and sin no more.” Yes, Jesus ate with the sinners, but that’s not to be construed that He “hung around” with them. Jesus came for a purpose, to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), not to condone their lifestyles and avoid confrontation. No, Jesus ate with sinners so that they might be saved!
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. – Mark 2:16-17 KJV
[He] wasn’t American and never spoke English. Except for the most diehard KJV-only-ist, and one who might never have had even the most basic of history lessons, most would agree. This is pretty much a given. However, the assertion being made is that Jesus is thought of by conservatives as being pro-American and anti-everything else, and that is mostly untrue and unfair. Sure, there are some kooks who believe America is the New Jerusalem, but there are others out there, such as Louis Farrakhan, who believe aliens live in a spaceship and are circling Earth as we speak. Neither represents the majority, I hope.
Actually, the only think that we must be concerned with is whether or not our nation (whichever nation that is) is on the side of the Lord, for His Kingdom is not of this world.
When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” – Joshua 5:13-14 NLT
[He] was anti-wealth anti-death penalty anti-public prayer (M 6:5). Oh boy. May I break this down into sub points? I mean, really, commas would have been helpful.
- Anti-wealth. I’d really like to know where Fugalsang got this. My guess is that he got it from passages like Luke 12:15 or Matthew 6:19-21. In the first Jesus warns us to guard against greed, while the second advises us to store up treasure in heaven, not down here where it can corrupt and/or be stolen. Even more, Fugalsang may be thinking of how Jesus is described as one having no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58), or that passage where Jesus says it’s easier for a camel than a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25).However, the fact is that it wasn’t wealth that Jesus had a problem with; it was greed, envy, selfishness, and faith in one’s own money and not in God.
The reason Jesus spent more time with the poor than the wealthy was because the wealthy more often had hard hearts (much like today). The rich tend to put their faith in their possessions and positions more than in God, so why would they respect the One who divested Himself of the riches of heaven and humbled Himself, even to the death of the Cross (Philippians 2:8)?You see, Jesus wasn’t anti-wealth; He was concerned only with what men do with it (Matthew 25) and the condition of their hearts: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). For crying out loud, the Church is forever in debt to Christians who used their wealth (while remaining wealthy) to feed, clothe, house, and instruct the poor of the world. It was even a rich woman in Thyatira named Lydia who used her wealth to house the early Church in her town (Acts 16:14-40).
- Anti-death penalty. Again, this must be one of those derivations from John 8:11, the passage where Jesus rescued a woman caught in the act of adultery. The only problem is that this passage does not assert that Jesus disagreed with the law, but rather opposite. Jesus gave every opportunity for her accusers to carry out the death penalty which was prescribed by law, but none of them were able to stand without hypocrisy. Jesus knew they were trying to set Him up, not to mention the fact that there was an un-mentioned man involved. Jesus took the opportunity to take the Law beyond where it could go on its own and showed mercy and grace.
- Anti-public prayer (M 6:5). Seriously? First, you don’t abbreviate the book of Matthew with a capital “M”. I mean, there are other books in the Bible that start with “M,” such as Mark, Malachi, and Micah. I guess since we’re talking about Jesus we’re supposed to know the one to which he was referring.Secondly, to use Matthew 6:5 as a basis for condemning public prayer is to admit one has little understanding of context. The context in this passage of Scripture was one which dealt with pride and hypocrisy. Jesus was addressing those who did good deeds and prayed verbose prayers all for the purpose of being seen and praised by men. That is why He said of the hypocrites, “They have their reward.”
So, what is the assertion being made with this point? That people should not be allowed to pray in public? That freedom of speech should not include two Christian school football teams being allowed to use a public address system to say a prayer before a game? – Yes that just happened.
But was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control. The whole “anti-gay” thing has been argued over and over and much has been devoted to it, yet liberals will only hear what they want to hear; therefore, I will devote very little time to it in this essay. However, saying that because Jesus never mentioned abortion or birth control means these are non-issues and would have been no concern to Him is ludicrous. It would be just as easy to say that governments shouldn’t restrict unnecessary use of antibiotics because Jesus never mentioned Penicillin.
Let’s save some time and get straight to the big theological issue in the room: Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity, the Word of God made flesh, Emmanuel (“God with us” – Matt. 1:23). What was said about homosexuality in the Old Testament are actually the same position Jesus took, for He and the Father are One (John 1:1-2, 14; 17:11). The only difference is that Jesus came to show that the strict requirements of the Law could only cause men to realize their own sinfulness in the light of Holy God, not save them. Jesus came to show God was merciful and wanted to graciously save men through putting their faith in Jesus. If you divest Jesus from His divinity then all you have is a crazy man who thought He was God and died for nothing.
As for birth control (speaking of contraception), there is no mention of it in the Bible, most likely because it was commonly understood that children were a gift from God (Gen. 4:1; 33:5) and the man with a “full quiver” was blessed (Psalm 127:5). With regard to abortion, it is God who gives life and considers us persons even before we are born (Psalm 139:13-14; Jeremiah 1:5), so I believe Jesus would have viewed elective abortion as murder. After all, it was Jesus’ own cousin, John the Baptist, who “leaped” in his mother’s womb when (Luke 1:41) when she greeted the pregnant Mary.
[He] never called the poor lazy. No, I don’t think He did. However, the Bible (the Word of God – See John 1) does say the following:
- By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:19 ESV
- For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 KJV
[He] never justified torture. That’s probably true – can’t argue with that. Of course, Jesus wasn’t a military leader who’s task it was to protect the lives of millions of his fellow citizens, either. Actually, Jesus was the One who gave His life so that others might live. Yet, He also said to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We will all have to answer to God for our actions.
[He] never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes. This is actually correct! Jesus never did fight for tax cuts for the wealthy. However, it is equally true that Jesus never fought to reduce taxes, either – even for the poor. In Matthew 22:17-21 Jesus made it perfectly clear that we are to pay taxes when taxes are due, and that even goes for the least of us. He said, “Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Later, speaking to average Christians, the Apostle Paul wrote:
And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor. – Romans 13:6-7 HCSB
[He] never asked a leper for a copay. No, I don’t guess He ever did that, either; He just healed them. The last time I checked, neither Republicans nor Democrats are God (even though some think they are) and somebody has to pay somebody for adequate medical services (therefore, refer back to Romans 13:6-7…not just the rich should pay).
And finally, [Jesus] was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless, community-organizing, anti-slut-shaming middle eastern Jew. Well, at least Mr. Fugelsang got the brown-skinned, homeless (technically speaking), anti-slut-shaming middle eastern Jew parts right. The rest, along with the usual lack of commas, he stereotypically got wrong.
Nazarenes (sometimes called Nazarites) were from Nazareth; Nazarites were those who took a vow not to cut their hair, drink wine, etc. Jesus never took a Nazarite vow. But, then again, Mr. Fugalsang is not a Bible scholar, only a political comedian who writes for the Huffpo and creates comma-challenged memes.
The following was first published in November of 2010. I do miss having my own “Ride.”
My wife will not let me put a bumper sticker of any kind on her car. Even if she was driving a rusty Chevy Vega which desperately needed the qualities of something with adhesive properties to keep her bumper stuck to her car…no bumper stickers. Not so with my Ride. I don’t need no stinkin’ sticky things! Just staples and zip ties, thank you. Really, what I mean to say is that “The Ride” is not too good to advertise TheRecoveringLegalist.com, even though my wife thinks her car is too special. HA!
Bumper stickers are something akin to free advertisement…
…They promote whatever you want other people to know about you and what you think, or for that matter, how well your kids think. Plastered to the back of a rolling billboard, they catch the eye of total strangers who have the random chance to find themselves behind you and I in traffic, or who catch a glimpse in a parking garage. Some people, I have come to realize, are advertizing more than they know, for some bumper stickers betray a hidden (at least to the owner of the car) stupidity.
There are so many bumper stickers that scream “MORON!”
Here is one that I saw. What a profound question. Why do we kill people that kill people? Could it be that we don’t want them to killpeople again? Could it be that they deserve to die for taking an innocent child’s life? Could it be that there are those out there on parole who would love to shoot your stupid…..(calm yourself, Anthony)…..well, they would love to steal your car and leave you beside the road in a ditch, then drive away with your false advertisement on THEIR bumper.
The one that I would have to say gets me the most, maybe because I see it the most, is COEXIST. I just love all the little symbols that are used to make up the happy little plea for love and harmony. Too bad what it tells me is that the owner of the car is a blooming idiot, at the very least, or somehow an ostrich has learned how to drive with his head in the sand. The message behind the little sticker is really, “Hey you Christians! Can you quit being so narrow-minded and hateful? Don’t you know that we all just want to get along, but you keep screwing it up?” All religions are the same, you know, or that’s the idea. We are all worshipping the same god, just by a different name. All paths lead to heaven, it’s just that some choose to take a shortcut by blowing themselves to Allah in the name of Jihad…is that so wrong?
I like the following verse. Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” As Christians, we should be speaking out about the goodness and mercy of our God, not trying to seek favor with false gods by “COEXISTing” in perfect joy and mutual admiration. People in this country have the right to free speech and to freedom of religion, but if you haven’t noticed, we are in a real religious war. The “C” doesn’t like the “T” in that bumper sticker. If you’re going to put something on your bumper, make it something that points people down the narrow road, not the wide one that leads to destruction. Show your intelligence and advertize your faith…just don’t be tacky and weird about it…or then we get back into the looking-like-a-moron thing that my wife so desperately wants to avoid.