Deeper Waters Podcast 3/17/2018: Rhonda Stoppe

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It takes two to tango in marriage and sometimes, women who marry Prince Charming find out he’s not really all that charming after awhile and is just a royal pain. It’s easy to look and think that all the problem lies with him. Also, it could be that the problem isn’t with him, but you know, you have to change something with yourself in order to be loved.

This isn’t to say that the husband is necessarily a saint. Sometimes, complaints can be true, but what can women do to improve their marriages? What are women doing to undermine their marriages? Are there some lies that a woman is believing about her husband that are undermining her marriage?

Rhonda Stoppe says there are. She’s my guest to talk about her book If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy And Other Myths Wives Believe. Rhonda writes to women to help them see past the lies that they are believing and how defeating these lies can help them live free in their marriages and in Christ. The book also has a note from her husband who is a pastor at the end of each chapter.

So who is she?

According to her bio:

Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. Rhonda is an evangelist who meets women at the point of their desperation and shows them the way to Christ. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night is what audiences say at her No Regrets Woman Conference where she helps women break free from the regrets that hold them back––beginning with a genuine relationship with Christ.

For more about Rhonda’s women’s evangelistic conferences watch this promo video

As a pastors’ wife, author, favorite radio guest and speaker with more than 30 years experience Rhonda’s delightfully authentic teaching, grounded in sound doctrine, helps women discover significance and become more influential than they ever dreamed possible. To learn more about Rhonda’s messages and to book her for your next women’s event visit her at:NoRegretsWoman.com

Rhonda’s books (Harvest House Publishers):

-Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

If My Husband Would Change I’d Be Happy & Myths Wives Believe

Real Life Romance

The Marriage Mentor (to release 2018)

Rhonda and I will be talking about marriage and what women need to know about marriage. This is not to say those of us who are men have it all together, but we need to see material geared towards wives and towards husbands as well. Rhonda comes at this as one who has made some of the mistakes and who has a passion for marriages as well as a passion for evangelism.

I hope you’ll be looking forward to the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I am always striving to bring forward the best material that I can and marriage material is always important to me. Please also continue going on iTunes if you can and leaving behind a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I love to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Modesty and Respect

How should victims of #MeToo live? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I had my concerns when the #MeToo movement started, but I appreciate many of the women who were in it. Real sexual abuse and sexual harassment happens. The problem is that the terms are also often too vague. There are girls who can have a guy ask them out at work and consider that sexual harassment. If a man tells a woman she is beautiful in some way, that can be called sexual harassment.

Then there are evils out there like Dr. Larry Nassar. Nassar is without a doubt a sick and twisted individual who has brought much destruction to the lives of the women that he worked with. Nassar used them for his own pleasures and their sexual peace has been sacrificed at the altar of his pleasures.

Sometimes, the response can go too far. An article in The Mighty recently spoke about Aly Raisman and her nude photos for Sports Illustrated. Normally, I would link, but I know that there are guys who will struggle and a link right there could be a problem. The link doesn’t show any frontal nudity, but it is clear that Raisman is nude in it. The writer of the piece says her appearing nude does not negate #MeToo.

The article quotes something said apparently on Instagram by Raisman.

“Women do not have to be modest to be respected– Live for you! Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy. Women can be intelligent, fierce, sexy, powerful, strong, advocate for change while wearing what makes them feel best. The time where women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies is OVER. The female body is beautiful and we should all be proud of who we are, inside and out.”

Much of this is fine, but some of it makes no sense. Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy? The way Nassar expressed himself was by abusing several young women. Do we have a problem with that? We sure do. The implication here is that you should do what makes you happy, and if sex makes you happy, you should express yourself sexually however you want.

What is ignored is if there is any real purpose to sex? There are a number of purposes, but many people today only look at one purpose. Sex is there only for this one purpose and that’s it.

One such purpose of sex is the continuation of the species. Some people can’t do this because of infertility or medical reasons of some sort or financial reasons or because age has made it impossible to conceive. Another reason also is the unity of a husband and wife. Sexuality is the greatest expression of love between a husband and a wife. It is a way of saying that the two give themselves entirely to each other as they are. It’s hard to do that with your bodies if you haven’t really done it in reality yet with a marriage commitment, which is a reason why living together before marriage actually makes divorce more likely.

Of course, pleasure is on the list. Husbands and wives also do this because it’s a lot of fun. The problem is too many today treat sexuality like just a hobby. In essence, it’s treated as something common. You watch TV with your friends. You go play a sport with your friends. You have sex with some friends. Why not? It’s just another thing you do.

But what if it isn’t just another thing you do? What if it involves more than just an activity, but rather the bonding of persons? In sex, after all, oxytocin is released that bonds the man and woman together. This cannot be altered. Of course, the more you deny what comes with that bond, the more you will be going against your very own body and making it harder to bond. Sex really does change things.

Raisman also says a woman should not be modest to be respected. Okay, but that leaves us with the question of why should a woman be modest? When I go out in public, I see several women. They’re all wearing clothes. Why is that? Also, the men are wearing clothes as well. Why is that?

Are we wearing clothes because we are ashamed of our bodies? Is the only way to show love for your body and delight in your body to walk around naked all the time? If so, then we live in a society where the only people who love their bodies are the ones in nudist camps.

Or do we wear clothes for another reason? (and I don’t just mean work requirements or keeping warm) Do we wear clothes not because our bodies are something shameful, but do we wear them because they are something sacred? We don’t want to expose what is sacred to everyone else. That treats the sacred as if it was just common. We save them for the people who are really special.

The only woman who sees my body totally is my wife. The only man who sees my wife’s body totally is me. By that action alone, we each know that we are something different to each other. We are the only ones that share this unique bond. Sex takes it even further. It’s not that Allie’s body is a place of shame. In reality, it’s a place of honor, but in her life, only one person has the honor necessary to totally receive the honor she has. Likewise, there is only one person out there I consider worthy of totally giving the gift of myself to.

What happens for women who bear it all sexually? Everyone gets that, and that includes multitudes who don’t deserve that. That includes the men sitting in their basements watching porn and not going out and meeting a real woman because they just need a fake one. When they do meet real women, these real women aren’t enough for them because they’ve seen the fake ones only and expect real women to be like fake photoshopped women. There’s a reason there are men in their 20’s taking Viagra now.

A woman does not dress modestly because she is ashamed of how she looks. She does it because she honors how she looks. She wants everyone to know that she is not to be treated as common. Her body is something sacred and is not to be put out on display. Getting to see her body and all her beauty and glory is not a right that a man has. It is a privilege. A woman determines who is worthy of that privilege. If she wants to say everyone in the world is, then she has lowered herself. Everyone in the world includes some despicable people.

The response article tells us that clothing is just clothing and our bodies are just bodies and your body, your choice. Yes. You do choose what you do with your body, but notice how the writer says our bodies are “just bodies.” It’s like saying, “No big deal. This is just the human body being shared.” It is a big deal. Every human being is a big deal. If you believe every woman should be honored, then you should also not believe that they are to be treated as common.

That’s the great danger also with young women especially doing the whole sexting thing now. By doing that, you are letting a guy know that if he wants to see your body, all he has to do is have a Y chromosome. Nothing extraordinary is required. A guy is far less likely to pursue you and if he does, well he only wants to hit it and quit it. He’ll move on to the next fix after that.

Now some do say that it is always the fault of the perpetrator in sexual abuse. It is, but at the same time, if someone overeats on a diet, it is their fault, but it’s not wise for friends and family to come by and dangle unhealthy foods that the person likes right in their face. Women and men should seek to dress in a way that honors those around them. Even if those other people are not worthy of being honored, like Nassar, you deserve to be honored around them.

Does this go against #MeToo some? I think it does. So many women have rightfully complained about being treated as objects, but then act in a way that makes it more likely that they will be treated that way. Again, it’s never right to do that and that can happen sadly even in marriage. (Sorry guys, but your wife is there for more than just you having someone to have sex with and you need to treat her with honor as a person in the image of God and sacrifice for her.)

Women should feel empowered and confident as they are and not be ashamed of their bodies, but that doesn’t mean you treat them like they’re common. Go with the Christian idea of treating them like sacred vessels. Save them for a man who truly deserves that honor, say, I don’t know, by making a public lifetime commitment to you till death do you part?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 11/25/2017: Brett Kunkle

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

First off, your prayers are appreciated today. Earlier this morning, we took our little cat Shiro to the vet. He has some dental problems and likely will have one tooth extracted. We hope that all of his issues right now are dental. That’s all I think it is as well as other people familiar with cats we’ve talked to, but Allie is scared about it. We pick him up this afternoon.

Now on to the information about the show. I know the date is for tomorrow, but we’re actually going to be recording this on Wednesday so it could be a little bit longer before you get to hear it. Still, the content will be the same.

Getting apologetics out has always been important and today, it’s especially important to get it out to the young. Our youth need apologetics more than ever and the good news is, it’s out there more than ever. There are several great programs out there that are helping to introduce Christian apologetics to youth.

Someone told me about one of these organizations called Maven. It’s run by my guest this time. Maven focuses on the youth and gives them three of Mortimer Adler’s six great ideas. The three it works on are truth, goodness, and beauty.

Why do we need these? Because the opposite messages are being given to our youth every day. If we don’t give them a message, they’ll only receive one message and it won’t be the right one. Maven focuses on reaching the youth so they can be prepared to engage with the culture. The person behind it is my guest, Brett Kunkle.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Brett Kunkle is the founder and president of MAVEN (www.maventruth.com), a movement to equip the next generation know truth, pursue goodness and create beauty. He has more than 25 years of experience working with junior high, high school, and college students. Brett has developed a groundbreaking approach to mission trips, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that immerses participants in real-life engagement in apologetics, theology, worldview and evangelism in Berkeley, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition, Brett is a Teaching Fellow at the Impact 360 Institute.  He was an associate editor for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students and co-authored A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. He received his Masters in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology. Brett lives with his wife and kids in Southern California.

I look forward to talking to Brett about these topics. As readers of this blog and listeners of my podcast know, I am quite passionate about making sure that the youth have apologetics. Please be watching your podcast feed for this upcoming episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. If you haven’t yet also, please go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. It means a lot to me to see them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Hugh Hefner’s Disgusting Legacy

What did Hugh Hefner leave behind? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, Hugh Hefner passed on. From reading and watching much of the media, you would have thought someone like the Pope died and we were nominating them for sainthood. By contrast, just a couple of days ago, Monty Hall from Let’s Make A Deal died and I have yet to hear the celebration of his life. Somehow, Hugh Hefner gets celebrated. Why?

Hugh Hefner was the one who started Playboy magazine. What did he do when he did this? Did he make it that men suddenly became lustful creatures? No. Men have always struggled with lust. Did he invent pornography? Of course not. There has always been pornography of some kind around. Did he make it so that the naked human female form became attractive? Not at all. It always has been all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

No. Hugh Hefner made pornography mainstream. He made it much more easily accessible. Many people (Not me actually) knew whose Dad had that stack of Playboys and where it was. I meet many young men who struggle greatly with pornography. The effects that it has one them is devastating.

The thing is, pornography is a lie. Sure, the women are definitely real women, but they’re not really interested in the men reading the magazines. When you see that image, that woman cares nothing about you. She is not trying to impress you. She will never sleep with you. All she is to you at that point is a body meant for your arousal.

Men no doubt tie their masculinity into their sexuality. Feeling aroused and sexual leaves us feeling like men. It is a very strong and powerful feeling and a woman in pornography can easily give that delusion. The man sees the image and he gets aroused and he feels like a man and that’s a great experience for him to have.

The problem is that when something like this is treated as if it’s a consumer good alone, then you always need more. You will never truly be satisfied. It requires more and more to get you aroused and at a certain point, normal women just don’t do it anymore. There are men in their 20’s today who need to take Viagra because they can’t get aroused by a real woman.

Not only that, the whole thing is a lie in its presentation. Watching pornography will not teach you the way sex really is. If I was talking to a couple getting ready to get married and the topic of sex was being discussed, which it should be, I would tell them that they need to forget what they’ve seen on TV or in the movies. That is not what sex is really like. If you go into the marriage with that assumption, it’s going to hurt.

Pornography does not teach a man how to approach a real woman. C.S. Lewis years ago talked about a man wrestling greatly with sexual desire and lust and how it was said he needs a woman. Lewis said a woman is the last thing he needs. If he met a real woman, he wouldn’t know what to do with her. He just wants pleasure and the female body is the apparatus by which he wants to get that pleasure.

You see, if you want sex really, you do have to approach a woman and you have to treat her like a woman. One doesn’t go to the woman just because they want sex, but ladies, if a guy starts getting serious with you in a relationship, rest assured sex is on his mind. It’s not because he’s a pervert or he’s using you. It’s that because for a man, sex is a powerful expression of love. He can’t imagine the thought of loving you and not wanting to have sex with you.

If you have porn though, you don’t have to make that effort to win a real woman. Instead, you can just retreat back to your fake woman regularly and you will never know the reality because you’ve been so busy chasing the illusion. If you do get to the reality, you would have damaged it greatly already. It can still be redeemed, but why would you want to risk it?

When you marry your wife, there is nothing like it. Porn will not teach you how to properly love a woman. It is no replacement for undressing your wife for the first time and having her do the same to you. It is no replacement for all the physical sensations of being able to touch each other wherever you want. It is no replacement for getting to make love together for the first time. You don’t have to have porn to do any of these things and porn will only make it worse.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that pornography nowadays is not just a man’s problem. There are many women who struggle with porn. I encourage you to consider it from the opposite perspective. I can’t write on a firsthand approach for women obviously.

Porn will not enhance your marriage either. Men have a constant flood of images going through their heads. Why use porn and fill it with images of women other than your wife? In turn wives, keep this in mind. Let your man see you and see you often. The more he sees you, the easier it will be to deal with temptation for him. He can be thinking everytime he notices another woman, which he will, “Sorry, but I’ve got better at home.”

Once you marry men also, definitely stop porn. You know what message it gives your wife if she realizes you are watching porn? It tells her that she is inadequate. She has to compete with a woman on a screen who has had plenty of make-up and photoshop and everything else done. Why should she trust you when she realizes that you could be thinking about that other woman from earlier?

I think ultimately, Hefner’s greatest damage was that he lowered sex for everyone. He did this by making it less than sacred. There are plenty of men who would never want to look at porn because they’re good and honorable men. They suffer too. Why? Because the women in their lives have seen too many of the other type of man. How do they know that this man is different?

Dare I say it, but I don’t think we can say Hugh Hefner ever truly enjoyed sex because it’s doubtful he ever truly enjoyed a woman. Oh he got a lot of joy from their bodies no doubt, but what about the woman herself? Sheila Wray Gregoire over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum has a saying that many people have had sex, but how many have made love? It’s a good question to ask.

Ravi Zacharias years ago said there was a Spanish proverb that said that he who loves many women has loved none. He who loves one has loved them all. The real measure of a man is not how much sex you have. The real measure is how do you treat the women in your life? If you’re married, how do you treat your wife especially?

Unfortunately, with Hefner, his legacy went far beyond the magazine. Now we have the internet making things even more accessible for men. There is even rule 34, which states that if it exists, there is porn of it on the internet. I have heard of pornography of even the most innocent things, such as Charles Schultz’s Peanuts existing on the internet. Yes. It’s out there.

In an age like this, is it any wonder that we don’t have a clue about what sex is? Men don’t really know much about how to romance women because all they often know about is getting sex. The goal is often to get her to go to bed. It’s not to be a real man for her and to get to spend the rest of your life loving and cherishing her.

Don’t think I am downing the desire for sex. I certainly am not. Don’t think I am denying at all the beauty of the human female form. I certainly am not. What I am saying is that we need an age of real men who don’t want to just pretend they are men by porn, but want to show they are men by loving real women. If you plan to marry, love a real woman by treating her life a jewel all her life. If you don’t plan to marry, honor the women around you by treating you like women and avoiding sex. If you really want sex, then marry someone you want to share it with for a lifetime. Don’t just use a woman for sex.

Hefner is gone, but sadly his legacy follows behind him. It is my hope that we can get men to rise up and throw off this legacy that does us no good. It might give us what we think is short-term gain, but the long-term results are disastrous. If you really want sex, don’t chase after the illusion of porn. Go for the reality of loving a real and actual woman and treasure her for all your life because she is a treasure.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is Beauty A Bad Thing?

Is it wrong to want to look your best? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I had someone making a remark about a Christian about how good they looked and asked about it. Aren’t Christians supposed to not be vain? Do we just disregard appearances and look only at the heart? That’s what 1 Samuel tells us God does, isn’t it? Is it wrong if a woman decides she’s going to buy make-up?

Now to remove a possible bias at the start here, let me say that I really just don’t care for make-up. My Princess is beautiful enough without it. I’d rather save the money and spend it on other things that can help us out, but she does wear it some to give herself a more feminine feel so it’s an area I’m willing to compromise on.

Christians do know that the heart of a person is what is important, but that does not mean that the body is unimportant. The body is not this add-on that we’ve been given that is irrelevant. It is something that we are supposed to take care of and cherish. It is the means through which other people see us and we interact with them. In physical affection, the love that the man and woman have for one another is expressed in the body and the greatest expression is in the ultimate act of trust.

Many times in the Bible when a female character is introduced, her beauty can be spoken of. Abigail is described as wise and beautiful. Esther is known for her beauty as well. In fact, the Bible commends in the love relationship the beauty that a man finds in a woman. Look at Proverbs 5:18-19.

18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Odds are you will never hear this passage discussed in church. By all means, if you’re discussing intimate topics like this, let it be known so that parents with small children can take them to the nursery if they want to, but these issues need to be talked about. This is especially so for our young people. Our young women particularly need to know that they are beautiful and there is nothing wrong with striving for beauty but please save that beauty for a man who deserves it, that is, one who puts a wedding ring on your finger and says I do. Then after that is done, bless him with that beauty. It’s one of the reasons that he married you!

In fact, I could go on to the Song of Songs which even more explicitly expresses the beauty of the male and the female. I also think that I stress the beauty of the female because believe it or not ladies, you’re much more beautiful than we men are. I think with us, there’s not much to really look at. For women, even among other women the beauty of the female is something amazing. As a married man, I can certainly say that I don’t know what it is about my wife’s beauty, but whenever I get blessed with all of her beauty, I am indeed blessed.

Just recently, we had the solar eclipse. A man we saw on the news said it was the second most beautiful thing he had ever seen. I was convinced at that point that he had to be married and was saying that nothing compared in beauty to his wife. If so, I agree.

“But Nick! Don’t you know about 1 Peter? Peter says that a woman’s beauty is her inner beauty.”

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Yes. There is a great emphasis on a wife listening to her husband here and having her beauty come from within instead of through outward adornment. However, nothing in here condemns outward adornment. In fact, we can safely say that if the woman ever went out in public, she would have to have something on outward. There is indeed something beautiful to a man when his wife does treat him like this, but that is not to say that nothing else can be used. Peter is telling us that if the focus of our beauty is in what we wear externally instead of being beautiful on the inside, we’re missing the point. There’s nothing wrong with both.

In fact, the Bible has both used. When Esther is to appear before the king, she gets the beauty treatments that are recommended.

“That’s a pagan king so of course!”

What about Ruth and Boaz? When it comes time for Ruth to ask for Boaz to be the kinsman-redeemer and marry her. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, tells her to wash, put on her perfume, and her best clothes. She wants Ruth to make the best impression that she can on Boaz.

By the way ladies, if you are married and you want to make yourself more beautiful, your husband will find it much easier to stand out of the way and let you do this. A beautiful wife to him is a badge of honor. How you treat yourself is a reflection of how you treat him. At the same time, if you’re married to a godly man, he will always find you beautiful, but do strive to be the best for him because marriage is for life and for all you know, you’re the only one he’ll ever be with.

If this sounds focusing on the ladies, that’s true for the men also. Men need to strive to be the best they can be for their wives. If you think that woman is truly pleasing to you and such a great gift, then you should be living your life every day in that way.

This focus also reminds me of an article recently by Gary Thomas about the idea of being good in bed. Some of you might even be shocked that such an issue is brought up and if you are, that’s part of the problem. Thomas talks about a movie where the girl tells the guy this. The problem he thought of was why didn’t he ever ask himself that question?

You see, when you’re single, you can find several publications that can tell you how to be good in bed to please your lover, but this isn’t discussed at all with marriage really. The question doesn’t even come up. This despite the fact that in Christian marriage, that person you’re making love to is the only one you’ll be making love to and you will be the one they make love to. Shouldn’t you strive that it be the best for that person and that person strive to make it the best for you?

And of course, this goes to other fields. What kind of communicator are you? How good are you at whatever it is that you bring to the relationship? Are you looking out for your own interests or for those of your spouse? Do you look at sex, housework, careers, or anything else as a duty that you just have to do or a way to be eager about something that you can use to please your spouse?

This includes beauty. I often wish I could have an even better body for my Princess. Unfortunately, with a steel rod on my spine designed for a certain weight, I really can’t gain weight so I will never have the really muscular body I’d like to have for Allie, but I can maintain what I do have for her good and work on my attitude as well.

I will also say I certainly take the time to appreciate Allie’s beauty. When I need something positive to think about throughout the day, I often think about her beauty and many times I can be left spellbound as I can’t believe I get trusted with a gift so sacred. Her beauty is one of the great motivators for me to be a better person.

When it becomes vanity is when you make it all about you and don’t work on your inner character. It is vanity when it becomes a source of pride and you think yourself better than everyone else because of beauty. That kind of attitude is often quite ugly in fact. Be realistic and delight in your beauty, but also recognize it as a gift. Be beauitful also because you represent a beautiful God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Everybody Is Wrong About God?

What do I think of James Lindsay’s book published by Pitchstone Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Remember the old days when Peter Boghossian was heavily pushing the idea of street epistemology? Good times. Good times. Well now his main fan James Lindsay has decided to follow in his footsteps. Lindsay’s book even has a foreword by Boghossian as well (And I did review Boghossian’s book here.). Unfortunately, Lindsay’s book falls drastically short of Boghossian’s, which is saying a lot since Boghossian’s was a train wreck to begin with.

Lindsay’s main idea is that everyone is wrong about God because we’re talking as if theism even makes any sense whatsoever and that we know what we’re talking about when we talk about God. Of course, one would expect at this point to see interaction with sophisticated systematic theologies such as those in the past of people like Augustine and Aquinas, or even today people like Erickson or Grudem or McGrath. If you are expecting that, you are going to be disappointed. Actually, if you’re expecting any engagement with contrary opinion, you are going to be disappointed.

The laugh riots really begin on page 17. What we are told there is that the New Atheists succeeded in their quest. It defeated theism at the level of ideas and destroyed the taboo of atheism. At this, we can see that James Lindsay is in fact the Baghdad Bob of atheism. The new atheists can’t hold a candle to the old atheists of the past. All we got from the new atheists was a rant largely about topics they did not understand, much like people who critique evolution without bothering to read the best works in science.

Of course, in all of this, don’t expect Lindsay to do anything like, you know, actually interact with the arguments for theism. If you expect to see the ways of Thomas Aquinas interacted with or a refutation of Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument or a response to the twenty ways listed in Kreeft and Tacelli, you will be disappointed. For new atheists, it’s enough to declare victory and then stand up and have the celebration.

From this point on, rather than actually engage in arguments and evidence, which like many atheists I encounter Lindsay doesn’t seem to care for, it’s best to jump straight to psychology. Why do we believe in something that’s so utterly obviously false? (A step forward I suppose. Boghossian wanted us to be listed as having a mental illness.) The problem here is you can psychologize anything. We could come up with psychological reasons for atheism, and they could apply to some people, but that does not refute atheism any more than psychological reasons for theism refutes theism.

Well let’s try to find some interesting parts and see what can be said about them.

On p. 60, we are told that many theologians and apologists will argue that theism has evidence, but that is false. There is a note here and one would expect to see some reply to some arguments or perhaps at least a book dealing with these arguments. Well, one would expect that were we dealing with a real sophisticated argument for a position. Considering we’re dealing with a fan of Boghossian, we’re not surprised to find another assertion.

Lindsay’s main argument is that we might have some arguments for theism and even if we did succeed at that, how do we get to what religion is true? Yes. You read it. That’s his argument.

Of course, Maimonides, Aquinas, and Avicenna would have all used the same arguments for general theism. That’s because theism itself is a metaphysical and philosophical claim so metaphysics and philosophy work there. First point to establish is that if theism is established, then atheism is false. Even if we could go no further, we would still have refuted atheism.

Second point is that Lindsay’s argument is just weak. Maimonides, Avicenna, and Aquinas could all then point to historical reasons for their faiths since all of them claim that events happened in history. I as a Christian would face my “All but impossible” task, in Lindsay’s words, by pointing to the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. A Muslim could point to why he thinks the Koran is the Word of God and a Jew could point to the Torah while showing problems with the New Testament. It could be that any of the arguments would work, but it shows that it is not all but impossible.

Again, if we were dealing with a real case, we would see some interaction. We are not, so we do not. High schoolers just starting apologetics study could have answered the question of Lindsay.

On p. 70, Lindsay says we have a right to shoot bull wherever we see it. Indeed we do. I make it a habit of doing such and I make it a point to shoot it down from atheists as well as theists. That’s one reason I’m doing this review. There’s a whole lot to shoot at.

On the very next page, he writes about a debate Sean Carroll had with William Lane Craig. This is a debate that I really didn’t care for. For one thing, as a non-scientist, I suspect most people in the audience spent a lot of time during the debate saying “What the heck are they talking about?” Lindsay is convinced Carroll won. Maybe he did. For Lindsay, this is a huge victory.

Well, let’s go to another debate. This is the one that took place between Peter Boghossian and Tim McGrew. In fact, someone with an interesting opinion on that was James Lindsay himself. What does he say?

“I also won’t comment about winners because I think the idea of winning a conversation is stupid to the point of being embarrassing for people that we make a sport of it.”

Well Unbelievable? is a debate show with a moderator so apparently, it’s stupid when we talk about a victory on Unbelievable? It’s not when we talk about it between Carroll and Craig. Got it.

“(Full disclosure: I think the debate was a draw because the substantive point of the matter could not be settled because the relevant data concerning how Christians and other religious believers use the word “faith” is not available.)”

It certainly is available. You just have to be able to, you know, go out and research and study it. Unfortunately, Boghossian did not do that. He had anecdotal evidence. McGrew actually went to scholarly sources. We’re sorry to hear that Lindsay does not consider that good enough.

“McGrew, the far more experienced debater, came off tighter in what he had to say and hid his weaknesses well, better than did Boghossian.”

And Tim McGrew’s other debates prior to this that we have are…

ummmm….

errrr…..

uhhhh…..

I think he told me he did some debating in high school. I suppose that counts in Lindsay’s book. Obviously, McGrew had to have more experience. I mean, how else can we explain what happened? It couldn’t be that (SHOCK!) McGrew actually had better arguments and Boghossian was uninformed? Nah! Can’t be that! Let’s look for an excuse!

The comments section, which I participated in, is immense damage control. If I think a theist lost a debate, and I think they do sometimes, I can admit it. It doesn’t change the truth of theism. It just means we had a bad debater at that point.

On page 87, Lindsay refers to Harris’s work of The Moral Landscape. The book is hardly what Lindsay thinks it is. All of my reviews can be found here. Michael Ruse, who I consider to be a much better thinker, trashes the book as well here. Strange also that considering how Lindsay wanted to show a debate earlier, he said nothing about Craig’s debate with Harris.

Naturally, we soon come to faith. Ah yes. The favorite weapon of the new atheist. Just pick your bogus definition that you have no evidence for other than anecdotal experience and run with it! A real researcher would go to the Lexicons and the study of the Greek language and see what the New Testament writers meant by faith. Lindsay does no such thing. Lindsay has studied the meaning of faith in the New Testament about as much as I have studied Brazilian soccer matches. For my take on faith, go here.

On p. 100, Lindsay talks about Poseidon falling away as we gained more knowledge of how the world works. Well this is odd. I thought science didn’t really get started supposedly until we got out of those horrible dark ages. (That is in fact false. Go here.) Is it really scientific knowledge that destroyed Poseidon?

No. What actually destroyed it was Christianity. As Larry Hurtado shows us in Destroyer of the Gods (For my interview with him, go here.), the reason we speak about asking if you believe God exists and not the gods is because of Christianity. Christianity became a dominant worldview and with it monotheism. When monotheism dominated, Poseidon died out. It was known then that the true God was in charge of this and science started to take off as we sought to understand how God works in the world.

This helps deal with a common misnomer. Skeptics like Lindsay think that Christianity is in danger the more gaps science fills in. The early Christian scientists saw no such danger. They thought they were establishing theism more by filling in the gaps. They sought to know how God did His work. Lindsay will need to search the medieval literature to see where a gap exists and they just plugged in “Goddidit” for an answer. One could say their answers were bad and wrong as science was just getting started, but they were still trying to be scientific.

One such case of this is with evolution on p. 118. Lindsay is convinced that if you establish evolution, well you destroy Adam and Eve and you destroy original sin and then everything else falls apart. Sadly, Lindsay is just as fundamentalist as the fundamentalists he wants to argue against. The ludicrousness of this can be shown in that I can have a case for the resurrection of Jesus and be told “Well, that can’t be true because of evolution.” How does that explain the data? It doesn’t.

Meanwhile, I and many other Christians have no problem whatsoever if evolution is true. I don’t argue for it or against it. I just don’t care either way. It doesn’t mean that Adam and Eve were unreal figures and the fall never happened. If I am wrong on Adam and Eve, then oh well. At the most, I only lose inerrancy. I still have the resurrection of Jesus and my Christianity is just fine. That’s the benefit of not being an all-or-nothing thinker, like Lindsay is.

p. 120 tells us that Jefferson in his writings referred to Nature’s God and the Creator and not to YHWH or Jesus or something specific. Of course. Jefferson was a deist and he was not wanting to establish a theocracy. That doesn’t mean that God was seen as an add-on. God was essential. Jefferson himself even held worship services in the White House.

On p. 122 we start to explain concepts like goodness finally. Interestingly, Lindsay points to how we feel about these things, almost as if they’re intuitive to us. Perhaps they are, but absent in any of this is even if they are, why should we think those feelings explain reality? Some people strongly feel God, and yet Lindsay would disagree that they are feeling God. If the God feeling is a falsehood of sorts, why not the feeling of goodness?

The real question one should ask at this point is “What is goodness?” Here, we come up empty again. Lindsay doesn’t begin to answer the question. If there is goodness, how do we know it? No answer once more. Even stranger, in an atheistic universe where we just have matter in motion, why should there be such a thing as goodness to begin with? If Lindsay praises the new atheists, why not go with Richard Dawkins in River Out Of Eden?

“The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

After all, as Dawkins goes on to say, our DNA neither knows nor cares. It just is and we dance to its music. If it doesn’t know or care, why should we?

These are the kinds of questions one would want to have answered, but Lindsay comes nowhere close. If he wants to accuse theists of jumping too quickly to “Goddidit” (And no doubt some do), then we can say he jumps too quickly to “Goddidn’tdoit). The evidence does not matter. There has to be an explanation without theism.

On p. 156 he defines a delusion as “a belief held with strong convictions despite superior evidence to the contrary.” This is quite fitting because on p. 154, he talks about the problem of evil and says “no amount of theological mental gymnastics has or ever can satisfactorily surmount the problem of evil.” It’s bad enough to say that it has not been surmounted. Most atheistic philosophers would even concede that the logical problem of evil has been defeated. It’s even stranger to say that it never can. Where did Lindsay get this exhaustive knowledge? Never mind the question of not being able to define good and evil which is still another hurdle. It would be nice to see if Lindsay has responses to people like Clay Jones or Alvin Plantinga or any other works on the problem of evil. He doesn’t.  Sadly, this doesn’t shock me any more. I’ve reached the point where I expect atheist works to not interact with their opposition. Lindsay does not disappoint.

On p. 180, Lindsay wants to point to the historical record of what religion has done. Absent is any mention of what atheism did in the 20th century. One supposes that Lindsay just wants us to have faith that atheism if established today would be different. All of a sudden, we would all unite in love and harmony and be singing Kum-Bu-Yah.

On p. 181, he tells us that the responses from the peanut gallery that say that faith means something more akin to trust is irrelevant. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s certainly not because of interaction. It’s certainly not because of researching the evidence. Lindsay just wants us to take him on faith that this is so. It’s a shame he provides no evidence. Could we just say this is what Boghossian would call “a deepity”?

On p. 184, we get to something that could be considered an argument. This is that the Bible lists bats as birds. That’s nice. It would be also nicer if Lindsay looked up the words. We translate it as birds often today, but the word really refers to a winged creature. There was not a modern taxonomical idea of bird then. There were just creatures that were not insects but had wings. Last I checked, bats had wings. Now maybe Lindsay has come across some scientific research that shows bats don’t have wings. Still, by the ancient standards, we are just fine. If they were just referring not to a modern idea of taxonomy but to the ancient definition of a creature with wings, then bats qualify.

At 185, Lindsay says street epistemology is for inducing doubt to foster intellectual honesty. Those of us who are apologists are not doing the same thing. We create doubt to manufacture vulnerability and perhaps fear to lead to a conclusion. Nice that Lindsay believes in mind reading. I in fact want to encourage better thinking as well. I just think better thinking leads to Christianity, but hey, apparently Lindsay believes in mind reading. Who knew?

If street epistemology wasn’t bad enough to promote, Lindsay also promotes John Loftus’s “Outsider Test for Faith.” Lindsay says no sources have passed this test. His note reference for this? Just do a google search. None of them are worth citing. Well there you have it! Lindsay has spoken. The case is closed! Of course, he could have interacted with a case, such as the book by David Marshall directly written on this. My interview with Marshall can be found here.

It’s also amusing to find that on p. 198-99 that the Inquisition and radical Islam are put right in line with Stalin and Mao. One would hope for historical sources, but alas, there are none. He could find one such source here. Of course, Islam is central to radical Islam and I would argue a consistent outworking of it. What about Stalin and Mao? Does Lindsay just consider atheism incidental to them? Hard to think that since they were on a warpath against religion entirely.

On p. 210, he points to the opinion of the National Academy of Sciences. After all, very few are theists. Unfortunately, Rob Bowman responded to Victor Stenger on this point here. I will quote a relevant part.

Assuming that’s true, how does one get into the NAS? Here’s what the National Academy of Sciences website says: “Because membership is achieved by election, there is no membership application process. Although many names are suggested informally, only Academy members may submit formal nominations.” In other words, it’s an exclusive club that decides who may even be considered for membership. According to a 2010 article in Scientific American, about 18,000 American citizens earn PhDs in the sciences or engineering every year. There are only about 2,200 members in the NAS, and no more than 84 new members are inducted each year. Even the geniuses in the NAS can figure out that its membership does not represent an adequately representative sampling of well-trained scientists.

In conclusion, Boghossian’s book at least had something redeemable in it about political correctness, which I agreed with. Lindsay’s book has no such feature. The main benefit we get from it is that we see further the bankruptcy of the new atheists. Apparently, it is a mark of pride to not interact with your opponents and not treat their arguments seriously. Lindsay can keep up his position. I hope he does. It’ll just further dumb down the atheist community while theists in the academy will be doing our further research and strengthening our position. With the idea of movements like Jesus mythicism and such being jumped on by atheists on the internet, I would not be surprised to see them intellectually bankrupt in a generation or two.

Thanks for helping the cause Lindsay.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Science Delusion

What do I think of Curtis White’s book published by Melville House? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

White is really tired of the arrogance of the scientists today. He loves the science, but his big problem is that many times scientists think that they’re doing science when really, they’re not. They will make statements such as Hawking’s that philosophy is dead, then make philosophical statements and not even realize it. Often this is done without a look at all at the great philosophical stances. (Consider how Krauss redefines nothing from the definition understood for some 2,500 years by theologians and philosophers and then blames them for changing the terms.)

One of his favorite examples is when he talks about how scientists say science is beautiful and amazing. White doesn’t argue against this, but what does it even mean? Are these scientific statements? Certainly not. These are statements of a personal opinion that can’t be objectively measured.

I have personally seen this. When I lived in Charlotte, Richard Dawkins came to nearby Queens university and gave a talk on his book The Greatest Show On Earth. His last chapter was all about the beauty of the universe and science. Now I am not denying the beauty of the universe or of science, but I got in line for the Q & A. When I got up, I asked Dawkins about that chapter and asked if he had any metaphysical or scientific basis for beauty.

I suspect most of the audience consisted of atheists at the time who had been throwing softballs and this time, he was flummoxed. He gave an answer that went on various tangents for about three or four minutes and then finally ended with “We don’t really know.” So here we have Dawkins telling an audience about this beauty and he hasn’t really even thought about how this beauty is known.

White also notices that scientists and others regularly use other words without telling about them. It’s just assumed “Well everyone knows what that means.” Consider how Hitchens writes about the life of reason. Sounds good. I mean, we all believe in reason don’t we? Don’t we see atheists having the Reason Rally and the Christmas signs that say “This season, celebrate reason.”? Indeed we do, and yet they never seem to define this word. What exactly is meant by reason? Your guess is as good as mine because it is never stated.

In all of this, White doesn’t want scientists to stop doing science, but he doesn’t want us to lose sight of the humanities. Art and philosophy and other topics are not dead. Scientists have too long put themselves up as the pinnacle of knowledge and others should be silent because “Hey! We’re scientists!” Maybe other fields can pick up some of the scraps, but science is where the real knowledge is.

White’s book is a really good critique of this system of thought and of the scientism of our age. It is a call to not abandon philosophy and art and other fields and to not give pat answers to big questions. Those questions need to be asked even if science is not the answer to them. Perhaps there are some questions that science just can’t answer.

Oh. One more thing. Curtis White is an atheist.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Through A Man’s Eyes

What do I think of Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross’s book published by Multnomah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Years ago there was a movie released called What Women Want starring Mel Gibson who after an electrical accident found that he could hear what women were thinking. Finally a man was listening. Gibson’s character changed his life drastically seeing the way women think and what effect their inner lives was having on them. Of course, this is not a big surprise since frankly, men have always had a hard time understanding women and have been looking for a good resource that would help them understand them better.

How To Understand Women

Now I think a book has come out that really gets into the lives of men. For many women, men are simple. Give them sex and they’re happy. Okay. There’s a lot of truth to that, but why is that? What’s going on in the life of your man? Why is it that he struggles so much when he walks past the Victoria’s Secret store? If he looks at another women while he’s walking down the street, does that mean he doesn’t care about you? Why should you be more deliberate about thinking about the way that you dress yourself? And of course, why does a man get involved in porn and what can you do about it?

While there is a male co-author, I found the book definitely going inside of my own head which makes me think Feldhahn really does know what we men go through. It starts with the account of a man who gets up early and is thinking about how he was up late the night before but it was worth it. He hears his wife taking a shower and goes in the bathroom just in time to see her wrap a towel around herself to his regret and how even before heading out the door he tries to “cop a feel.” At work, there is the lady who is dressing and has her outfit unbuttoned to an extent that if he looks, his mind will wander. As he drives, he sees constant advertisements on the road with women and he has to deflect his eyes and pay attention for mile upon mile. Throughout the day, he strives to think of his wife and the fun that they had before. No. This man is not a pervert. He’s not a sex addict. He’s just a simple man trying to honor God and his wife and living in a world loaded with traps to lure him away. He’s walking through a sexual minefield as it were.

We men are just drawn to beautiful women. A woman can be beautiful to us without being overt in what she does. That doesn’t mean that there’s not a struggle still, but it makes it easier. Feldhahn and Gross go into great detail as to what happens in the brains of men when they see something sexually stimulating. This will be a shock to some people, but as it turns out men and women are very different. This includes the way they respond to visual stimuli and the way they interpret sexuality. To be fair, while I thought the book was thorough on how a man interprets the signals he receives, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more on why sex is so important to a man and what a role it plays in the worldview.

Nothing said in the book is also meant to justify bad behavior on the part of men. A man is visual so watching porn is a lot more likely for him, but it is certainly not justifiable! A God-honoring man might take a second look at that woman who walked by, but that does not justify it. There are a lot of behaviors men need to work on, but a book like this can help women to better understand just what is going on in the head of the man that they married or are dating, or even in the heads of the man that they are raising, so that they can better support them in whatever battle that they’re in. (Hint: Don’t be like the woman who responded to her husband’s porn addiction by withholding sex and gaining 150 pounds.)

An important insight also is that the way to connect to a man well is through his eyes. Believe it or not wives, your husband does want to see you naked and while you might be hesitant about your own body, he wants to see you period. In fact, if you are concerned about your body, this is also why you can consider that diet and exercise to take care of your body is one of the best ways to say “I love you” to your husband. Your body is a gift that you are giving him. If you were cooking a romantic dinner for him, you wouldn’t be haphazard. You’d make sure you were doing all you could to fix it right. You should do the same with something much more lasting, your body.

Respect is also central to your man in this regard. A husband does not want respect just when you think he deserves it or has earned it. He would be foolish to love you on the same grounds, and yet for most men respect is far more central than love. Men gravitate towards respect. Remember women that you married or you’re dating a man. He is not meant to be a woman and part of his masculinity is his sex drive and his being visually oriented. If you please him with his visual orientation, you can be certain that you will build up his love for you. (Of course, being a Christian, this is to be with sex done in the confines of marriage.) Too many times women try to make their men like one of their girlfriends. It will not happen. Accept that you have a man whose primary stimulation is visual and learn to love him that way, because God wired him to be visual.

The book also does go into detail on the problem of porn and what to do if your husband or son is struggling with pornography or you think he is. It ends with a helpful FAQ that I largely think comes from Craig Gross which covers a bit of everything, including questions like “What if I find out my son has been putting ‘big boobs’ into the search engine on the internet?” Gross in this section really holds nothing back and is just blunt. The writers also stress they have plenty of other resources available at the web site menarevisual.com.

In fact, if anything, men are more visual than Feldhahn and Gross point out. A man can hear a woman speaking on the radio or on the phone and already be speculating about what she looks like. Yeah. That’s not much to go on, but a man will wonder. That’s how much this means to us and when women work with that instead of opposing it, they will find a way to get more joy out of their relationships. That means watching how you take care of yourself and allowing him to delight in you by seeing you and that you might actually have to turn the lights on sometimes when you have sex. Men want their women to be beautiful, but at the same time women don’t need to be as extremely self-conscious as many of them are. Your man just wants to see you and he wants to be wanted by you.

This is an excellent book and it will not take you long to read. I read it in about a day’s time and I found it to be quite spot on. I hope Feldhahn and Gross come out with another book together in the future explaining not just how men are visual, but what exactly sex means to a man and why.

In Christ,
Nick Peters