Special Debate Tonight

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

Tonight is a big night in the ministry of Deeper Waters. While I have done debates, this is going to be my first live debate against an atheist in a public setting. Most of my other debates have been done via Podcast, which is fine, but tonight, I get to see the audience up front and person and to take questions from them.

The event is available here. Everyone and their mother have asked me about livestream and recording. I do not know any more than you do. I trust that both will happen, but I do not have a website or anything like that that I know will be streaming the debate.

I do know that people from the churches Allie and I attend are both planning on coming which is really good. It’s always helpful to have that audience support for an event like this. I do have an opening statement and it’s one that some friends worked with me on to help me get it better than it was originally no doubt.

The debate will be on if God exists. I do want to stress that I wish to focus on that part of the debate. At this part of the debate, I am not interested in demonstrating that the Bible is true or Jesus rose from the dead. Those need to be demonstrated eventually, but the big focus is to demonstrate that there really is more than what meets the eye.

It is also both humbling and honoring to be chosen for this position. I have familiarized myself with Barker’s material and many of you know that I have an ebook that I have co-written responding to Godless by Dan Barker. The title of the book I helped to write is Groundless.

It has been a great blessing to hear from so many of you to give your vote of confidence and belief in me before this event. It’s again humbling and honoring and I want to make sure I do my best to show that I don’t disappoint you. It amazes me in the few years I’ve been doing this ministry that I’ve managed to already have such an impact.

I also have to strive to remember that the event tonight is not about me and it’s not about Dan Barker. It’s about God and it’s about Christ. At the same time, it’s something to really think about when an event comes up like this and you realize you are the one who is up there who has the duty of defending Christianity. Again, it’s a time to pause and be humbled and at the same time to give thanks. There are plenty of people praying for this event and if you can’t come, I pray that you will be one of those such people.

Should it be recorded and there is a link up, I will put it on my webpage under the section of interviews and debates. If so, I appreciate your feedback. If you’re at the event tonight, come and see me. I’d love to get to meet you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Evidence Considered Chapter 39?

Is Jesus the only way? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter, Jelbert takes on Mike Licona’s essay on Jesus being the only way. I do agree that this is not evidence for God, per se, but there are still matters to deal with here. So let’s get started and see what we have to say about what Jelbert said.

Jelbert again says that since Licona says the resurrection is the prize puzzle in an earlier chapter, that means that the resurrection is not yet established. If he means established to the satisfaction of everyone, sure, but on those grounds evolution is not yet established and even Intelligent Design is somewhat established. What I take Licona to mean is that this is the topic that is the hardest to tackle in historical Jesus scholarship.

Next, Jelbert says Jesus is saving us from Himself, though considering the horrid understanding he has of the Trinity, I suspect Jelbert really means the Father. Jelbert tells us that if an earthly father locked his daughter up unless she said she wasn’t better than Hitler, we would not regard that as generous salvation. If he went on to say that she needed to pay for her sins, but he was going to smash his hand with a hammer instead, the result would be horrification.

None of this is an accurate picture. For one thing, not all of us are children of God in the sense of part of the family yet. We all come from Him, but some of us are rebels. There’s also the idea on Jelbert’s part that the children are presumed innocent and the only problem is they don’t stroke God’s ego.

Also, forgiveness is really the paying of debts to some extent. In that case, it is entirely fair for someone else to pay the debt for someone else. This happens regularly today still.

Jelbert also says that he found a problem going through Evidence for God in that he would be told he has a conscience which is evidence of God, but when it comes to doctrines like Hell and Christian exclusivism, then we don’t listen to that conscience. Fortunately, I don’t use that argument. I realize we all have a sense of right and wrong, but that has been seared as it were and is not infallible. Our ideas are more impacted by culture than we realize.

Jelbert moves on to saying that if you do believe in hell, you are obliged to try to convert people. Licona says that anyone is free to say “No thanks.” Jelbert says this ignores plenty of times of forced conversion and such in church history. It also ignores Christianity trying to force its way into the public school system. Jelbert is making too much out of one statement. It is ridiculous to think that Licona is supposed to speak on behalf of all of Christian history. As for science education, I do not support ID, but I have no problem with them wanting to get their ideas into the public marketplace. Why not bring them in and discuss them? Are atheists afraid they cannot expose them?

Jelbert also brings up Deuteronomy 13:6-15 where people who try to convert Israelites are to be killed. That’s also because Israel was under a Suzerainty covenant where loyalty to the sovereign was to be expected and anything contrary would be rebellion and in a society where communal thinking was the norm, a little leaven would work through the whole dough. We are the weirdos in this regard. Our individualism is the outlier. To some extent, we still have this. When we have people who promote disorder in the society, we lock them up in prisons away from the general population.

Licona also says those who complain about exclusivism being intolerant are themselves being intolerant. Jelbert says that a person can be tolerated while their beliefs are not. This is true, but I suspect Licona is talking about a much more modern view of ideas where holding a disagreeing opinion is considered intolerant. Jelbert is right on a classical definition of tolerance. Licona is right if he is going with the modern notion, which I think he is.

Jelbert also says the Christian beliefs aren’t much comfort in general in times of pain. Perhaps sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are awful. So what? Sometimes, they are a help. I could just as well ask what help is an atheist belief in time of pain? This is just the way reality is? Get used to it? Life is a pain and then you die and it never mattered anyway? The hope of the resurrection for me, as a Christian, is a very real hope.

Jelbert also tells us a lot about himself in that when he realized he didn’t believe in God, he first thought of hell and what if he was wrong. Then he says that if God wants him to believe, God will convince him. Yes. After all, it’s God’s job to do the work. I have written about this before in God being treated like a trivia question.

In closing, I would like to explain why Jesus is the only way. Jesus is the only way because He is the only one who did anything about the problem, which is sin. He is the only one who comes from the only true God and can represent us. No other religious figure did anything about the problem. Hence, Jesus is the only way.

Some might be wondering about those who never heard. That will be dealt with later on. When it comes up, we will deal with it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 3/16/2019: Harold Felder

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

I have grown up in the South and lived here all of my life. My community was largely a white community. I did not have black classmates until I went to Middle School. Church was the same way. That’s just saying a statement of fact.

When I read the Bible, I read it as a white person. Yet could my perspective be different if I had read it as a black person? For example, would I read passages about slavery differently? It’s understandable as a child to read the Bible and assume everyone looked and thought just like you, but when you do more study you know it’s not like that. Most of our movies depict Jesus walking around Jerusalem as someone white. I don’t think He was black, but I don’t think He was white either.

What if you do grow up in the black community. Will you be told sometimes that Christianity is the white man’s religion? Will it affect you when you hear about the way Christianity was sometimes sadly involved with the slave trade. What about the Southern Baptist Convention and slavery? It’s a mark of shame on Christianity today that we have been involved with that, but how can a man of color embrace such a religion?

Why not do what should be done? Talk to such a man. Talk to someone who knows what life is like in that community. Talk to someone who takes race seriously. Talk to someone who wants to reach his fellow African-American community with the truth of Christianity. Talk to Harold Felder.

Who is he?

According to bio:

Dr. H.C. Felder is a former atheist and NASA Software Engineer. After becoming a believer and being exposed to the truth of Christianity, he has dedicated his life to sharing that truth with others.  He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, and both a Master and Doctorate degree in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary.  Dr. Felder is the author of multiple articles in scholarly journals on race and the Bible.  He is also the author of the book “The African American Guide to the Bible.”  

 

Dr. Felder has been married to his wife Tina for eleven years. They have a blended family of four children & six grandchildren.

We will be talking about race and the Bible. What is race? What about slavery? Were there any people of color in the Bible or was it really that Jesus was walking around Jerusalem just as white as His clothes were in the Transfiguration. What about ideas that Christianity is the religion of the white man? Is someone like Dr. Felder a traitor for embracing Christianity?

I hope you’ll be listening to this episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast as this is the kind of topic that we haven’t covered before. Please also consider going on iTunes and leaving a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I look forward to getting to bring this next episode to you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Evidence Considered Chapter 38

Is Jesus superior? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter, Glenton Jelbert responds to Tal Davis on if Jesus is superior to all other religious leaders. I really have no interest in prooftexting from the Bible and such. If the Biblical view of Jesus is true, such as Him being fully God and fully man, I think He is ipso facto superior to all other religious leaders. None of the rest of them could claim such a thing. What I am interested in are the ways that Jelbert gets Jesus wrong.

Jelbert wants to know the evidence that Jesus is perfect and sinless. Of course, as a Christian, I point to the resurrection as the validation of His specific claims about Himself. Jelbert doesn’t accept that. If one does not accept Christianity as true, they will not accept Jesus as sinless. They will definitely not accept the resurrection.

From here, Jelbert goes into the idea that if Jesus does anything as a perfect person, it must be good. This is so. It doesn’t mean that it is for us. It is just fine for Jesus to stand up and proclaim Himself as God. It would be blasphemy and/or idiocy for me to do the same thing.

Jelbert brings up supposed genocides in the Old Testament as another example of this. The difference I see here is that not only does God command war in the Old Testament, but the Israelites had abundant evidence to think it was God doing it. After all, they had seen Egypt destroyed by plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, manna falling from Heaven, Mount Sinai burning with the presence of God, and numerous other miracles. If you want to claim God has told you to do something that seems contrary, you’d better have just as good evidence.

Jelbert also says that going with revealed truth requires suppressing intelligence, rationality, and one’s moral compass. No argument is given for this statement. I see no reason to accept it and think it just implies Jelbert is saying that Christianity requires checking ones’ brains at the door. No doubt, some Christians do, but it is not a requirement.

Jelbert also writes about the atonement. He has a series of questions.

Why does God need to kill Himself/Jesus because of our sins?
What is the mechanism by which this works?
If Jesus and God are one, how did Jesus die and God not?
What does death even mean when applied to an infinite being?
Why would God be satisfied by this?

Jelbert says that none of these questions have meaningful answers and the produced doctrines just assert that no contradiction exists. Well, thus far, no contradiction has been presented. Asking questions is not the same as presenting contradictions.

Also noteworthy is that Jelbert does not interact with ANY theories on the atonement. There are multiple ones. Jelbert just accepts that none of them work. This is hardly the way to do research.

But hey, let’s look at these questions.

First off, God doesn’t kill Himself at all. Jesus gives Himself because our sins put a barrier up between us and God. Sin has to be taken seriously and sin is rebellion against a good and holy God. For God to ignore sin is to put creation above Himself. That would be treating us as greater than God. Meanwhile, we could not pay such a price. It’s not so much guilt as it is a debt.

What is the mechanism by which this works? There are many different ways, but let’s suppose I just said, “I don’t know.” Meanwhile, I do know that Jesus rose from the dead and is God’s chosen king. Am I to reject Jesus just because I don’t know how atonement works?

If Jesus and God are one, how did Jesus die and God didn’t? Jelbert assumes that Jesus and the Father are one person. They are not. The Son experienced death in that He was separated from His body on the cross, which wouldn’t apply to the Father since the Father has no body.

What does death mean when applied to an infinite being? For Jesus, it means the separation of His soul from His body. That doesn’t have anything to do with infinity.

Why would God be satisfied by this? See the second answer.

With this, I have answered Jelbert’s questions. Perhaps my answers aren’t all right. Okay. However, they are answers. Others will have different answers. Even if one can’t be proven, they can still be seen as coherent.

Jelbert then goes on to list some problems with Jesus. One is that Jesus was wrong about the time of His coming, which we saw earlier was actually false. He also says this led to unwise advice such as not worrying about tomorrow since it will take care of itself. How this is unwise is not stated. Jesus also could not have been talking about saving up since most people were day-wage earners and had nothing to save up. He was just telling such people to trust in God for tomorrow.

Of course, there’s something on eternal punishment. Jelbert apparently takes a one size fits all approach to hell and heaven. Some people in each place will be better off and worse than others. If Jelbert is aware of this, he shows no knowledge of it.

He points to calling the Canaanite woman a dog in Matthew 15. He says he doesn’t find it funny, but the key is the woman herself was not offended by it and saw it as a challenge from Jesus to rise up. Jesus was not joking, but offering the lady a chance to show herself. I think He was also speaking the way His apostles would speak and then letting the woman show herself even better than they were, and in turn, He did heal her daughter.

He speaks about the pigs being slaughtered and how the owners weren’t compensated, but in this kind of area, pigs would not have been a herd that should have been there. As for the fig tree, I just think we’re getting into bizarre areas when people are concerned over a fig tree. God as the Lord of Life can restore or kill a fig tree whenever He wants.

In the end, I find Jelbert’s arguments again weak. Maybe he’ll do better next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Evidence Considered Chapter 37

Is there a case for the Trinity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We return to the work of Glenton Jelbert. I do agree with him in Bill Gordon’s chapter that on the face of it, I don’t understand a chapter on the Trinity in evidence for God, unless you’re trying to respond to objections about God. Still, the Trinity is an important topic, so let’s see what Jelbert has to say about this.

First, Jelbert says the doctrine says that three is one and declares this to be a mystery. No Trinitarian worth his weight in salt would ever put forward such a ridiculous notion as that. No one who has a clue about this subject will say there is one God and three gods or that God is one person and three persons. Jelbert can say it’s wrong all he wants, but please, let’s dispense with straw men.

He says that Thomas in John 20 displays healthy skepticism, but this is not really the case. Thomas had traveled with these guys for years and lived with them and knew them well and all of them gave the testimony that they had seen Jesus. Thomas’s skepticism was unreasonable in that sense. Jelbert ends this saying it took hundreds of years for the Trinity doctrine to evolve. We’ll deal with that later when it comes up again.

He goes on to say that Mark doesn’t support the divinity of Jesus.

Oh really?

In Mark 1, we have John the Baptist coming forward to prepare the way of the Lord. If you look in the Old Testament, the Lord is YHWH. Who shows up on the scene then? Jesus. Think Mark is making a connection? Mark also has Jesus being able to declare forgiveness of sins in His own person in Mark 2. In doing this, Jesus is being the temple which represented the presence of God. Jesus is then the new place the presence of God is made manifest.

Later in that chapter, Jesus declares Himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath. What does that say about how Jesus viewed Himself? We could go on and on, but keep in mind that this is in just the first two chapters. Jelbert really needs to look at Mark more.

In Matthew, we are told that no one called Jesus Immanuel. No, but this is irrelevant. Many people would also have many names and the focus is that God is with us, which is exactly what happens in the last few verses of the book. Matthew is writing an inclusio to show that Jesus is God with us.

Jelbert says Matthew 28 was never quoted to show that one must go to the Gentiles. After all, the apostles all had immediate understanding and accepting of Jesus’s words. Old ways of thinking die hard. As for being baptized in Jesus’s name in Acts 2, that is because Jesus was the one that needed to be recognized as Lord. Groups today that make something magical about the names given at baptism are badly misunderstanding both passages.

I do agree that there can be an overemphasis on John, but Jelbert never seems to bother looking up the best scholarship. There is no citing of Bauckham or Hurtado or Bird or Tilling or anyone else in the early high Christology group. His only reference to the Trinity doctrine evolving is Bart Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God. I have already reviewed that book and found it really lacking.

In conclusion, there really isn’t much here. Sadly, even Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to have a bit more substance here. Jelbert should really consider interacting with the best in the field.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Tribute To Smokey

Do we treasure the life that we have with those we love? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It happened Saturday and came out of the blue. None of us were expecting it. My wife got a call from my mother, probably because I hadn’t been feeling well and my Mom didn’t want to tax my voice. Anyway, I heard my wife asking about “her” over and over and knew something was wrong. At the start, I thought it was my aunt Ruth back home. It wasn’t, but it still wasn’t good news. I had an idea what was going on when it came to talk about “putting her down.” You don’t say that about your aunt.

You say that about pets.

Growing up, cats have always been a part of my life. The first one was a cat named Subway, so called because we lived in a mobile home and she ran under it first when we got her. I remember when we had to put her down, though I didn’t understand why. I did know we wouldn’t be waiting long to get another cat. The house was too empty. I was already looking in the classifieds in the newspaper.

That weekend, Stormy came into our lives.

When I left home, Stormy was still there. Then, one day later on, sometime after I had married, my Mom called to tell me she had lost Stormy. I had no idea he was in bad health. Stormy had been her favorite and losing him was a major hurt to her.

Along the way also, Allie and I rescued a cat. That was interesting since she’s always been a dog person, but a cat was our first pet. Apparently, cats are with me wherever I go.

Shortly after Stormy’s passing, my sister worked and got my mother a new cat that she wasn’t expecting. This one is named Reagan. Then my Dad was out doing his work and found a place with a cat that was super affectionate, but they had to get a new home for. I don’t remember the reason, but my parents talked it over and before too long, Smokey came to live with my parents.

Smokey had been playing all the week earlier last week, but then Friday things changed. She didn’t want to move and she actually screamed when my Dad tried to pick her up, which is unusual since I have been around her several times and never heard her make a sound. They knew something was wrong. They took her to the vet and found out it was kidney failure. Medicine could help some, but it would only be a couple of weeks of pain. They were all together when they decided to put her down.

After being with my in-laws when their dog Nessie was put down, I have asked a couple of vets. They have all told me the same thing. Putting an animal down never gets easy.

When things like this happen, we always say we’re going to learn to treasure more the time that we have with the ones we love. We don’t. It is our human condition I think. We so hunger for eternity that we think every moment is like it. When things are good, we take them for granted and say “It will always be like this.” When things are bad, we lose hope and say “Things will never change.” We always want to take the present moment to be eternal.

Eternity is not with us yet. We should not treat the moment like it is. When good times come, celebrate them and be thankful, but do not take them for granted. When hard times come, mourn them and seek to change them, but do not act like the story is done at this point.

Either way, cherish the people that you love. Celebrate them. My parents, I am sure, thought there were several years to be had with Smokey. They were wrong. I know when Nessie died, my wife was saying she wished she’d spent more time walking the dog instead of doing other things. That time can never be reclaimed. Don’t waste what you have.

For those wondering, I do think a strong case can be made for animals being in the afterdeath. I recommend listening to my podcast with Dan Story on his book Will Dogs Chase Cats In Heaven?  Please in your prayers be remembering my parents in the loss of Smokey.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What is the appeal to authority?

Is it wrong to appeal to authority? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am constantly amazed at the new lows of anti-intellectualism that internet atheists will sink to all the while thinking that they are superior intellects. One of these is complaining about appealing to authority. Here’s the deal. Sometimes appeals to authority are invalid, but for these atheists, any time you cite any authority on any topic, it is a logical fallacy.

Keep in mind what it would mean if you did not believe in any authority. Odds are, you would not believe much of anything. Unless you personally observed through a telescope yourself, you would have to say that you don’t know if some planets or galaxies existed. You could not rely on anything scientific unless you had done the experiment yourself. You could not trust your doctor, dentist, mechanic, electrician, etc. There would be no need to read anything as that is another authority nor listen to a lecture or talk for the same reason. This is just scratching the surface.

Appeals to authority are not always wrong.

But what can make them wrong?

One big problem is talking about something outside of your expertise. A great example of this is celebrity endorsements. If celebrity X endorses the product, it has to be good. Well, unless celebrity X has some specific learning in the field, why should anyone give a rip?

How about people who have learning? Richard Dawkins would be just fine to quote if you were making a point about evolution. When he writes The God Delusion, he’s talking outside of his field as he is not an expert in religion, history, metaphysics, philosophy, or biblical studies.

Let’s go the other way now. If you were talking about the New Testament, it is just fine to quote N.T. Wright. If you are talking about the Big Bang Theory, you need to quote someone else. Wright is an excellent New Testament scholar, but he is not a scientist.

Note that an appeal to authority doesn’t mean that it is true. Authorities can be wrong, but it does mean that you had better have some serious evidence if you’re going to go against the authorities in the field. This especially applies to Jesus mythicists. Good luck finding a professor in New Testament or classical history at an accredited university that gives any credibility whatsoever to Jesus Mythicism. That doesn’t prove that mythicism is false, but it shows that the mythicist side has a whole lot of work to do to show they have a case.

Something interesting about this is that the claim that the appeal to authority is always invalid is self-refuting. When people want to tell me this, they normally show a web link. Ignore the fact that normally in the link there’s an explanation about valid appeals to authority and invalid appeals to authority. Either way, the person is presenting an authority, a web link, to tell me that I should not accept an authority. If not that, they are speaking on their own authority that one should not appeal to authority.

So for internet atheists, I challenge them if they think that any such appeal is always invalid to try to live that way. Be your own doctor and everything else. See how long you function in the world. Then go and learn what the appeal to authority really is and return to reality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 3/9/2019: Adam Dommeyer

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

If we could take a scene from Acts and change it around, we could picture my guest this Saturday before Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith is reading the Book of Mormon and talking about the virtues and appeal of Mormonism. At the end comes the reply, “Almost do you persuade me to be a Mormon.”

My guest really wanted to be a Mormon. He had a great love and admiration of Joseph Smith and as a teenager was deeply interested in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith was like a best friend to him. Then upon one discovery, all of that came crashing down. Fortunately, he did not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Today, he has a ministry reaching Mormons.

His whole life story is fascinating and he has many encounters with Mormons to this day. His knowledge of Mormonism is incredible and I have got to talk with him on the phone even a number of times. I am looking forward to having him on my show. His name is Adam Dommeyer. We will be discussing his book Almost a Mormon.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

“Adam Dommeyer is the founder of Latter-day Sense Evangelism Ministry and is an ordained evangelist through Speak the Word Church International. He is currently pursuing his M.A. in Transformational Leadership at Bethel Seminary, received his B.S. in Pastoral Ministry from Lee University, and got his Certificate from The Perry Stone Mentoring Institute for Ministry.”
Adam’s book is a fascinating journey that grips you from the very start. In all honesty, my favorite part was the first half where you wondered how it would be that Adam would get away from Mormonism. Something else interesting about all of this was the many dreams that Adam was having, which is a warning to all of the Christians who seem to think that dreams are a message from God.
What is it that Mormons believe? What is the appeal to Mormonism? How is it that a young man raised in a solid church tradition can come so close to getting into such a false belief? Is there anything perhaps in the idea of family that the Mormon church emphasizes that makes it so appealing?
What can we say when we encounter Mormons today? How is it that we can not only answer their questions, but also share the love of Christ with them? What do we need to be aware of in dealing with Mormons today in our encounters? When Mormons show up at your door, what do you need to know to answer them? What should you try to do and are there any steps you should try to avoid when dealing with them?
I hope you’ll be looking forward to our next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I am battling a bit of a cold right now, but the podcast is a few days away and I hope to be good enough to handle it by then. Please go on iTunes also and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.
In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Cost Of Miracles

Who has more at stake on the question of miracles? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Years ago, Chesterton said that a theist believes or disbelieves in a miracle, rightly or wrongly, because of the evidence. The skeptic disbelieves in a miracle, rightly or wrongly, because he has a dogma against them. This would come as a shock to many unbelievers. A dogma? That’s the area of religion.

To which, Chesterton would also say there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are knowingly dogmatic, and those who are unknowingly dogmatic, and the latter kind are always more dogmatic. We see this quite often today. It is the ones who are most shouting about tolerance who prove to be the ones least tolerant and don’t accept any arguments against their dogma.

The interesting question about miracles comes when you watch a miracle account being shared on any public forum on social media or such a place. The atheists are always the ones quick to show up to say why the miracle story is false. As a Christian, I tend to maintain some skepticism about miracles, but if there is good enough evidence, I don’t rule it out.

Who has the most to lose at this? It is not myself as a Christian. If a miracle story outside of the resurrection of Jesus is shown to be false, oh well. The resurrection is still true. If it is a true miracle story, then that is just further evidence for theism, but theism is still true even if the miracle claim is false.

We could go a step further. Let’s suppose all miracle stories are false thus far. Let’s suppose that no miracles have ever been done. Does this rule out theism? Not at all. God could have gone a deistic route and created the world and chose to do nothing with it, or God could somehow be co-eternal with the world and just doesn’t care about it. I don’t think either of those are true for a moment, but they are hypotheticals to accept.

But what if just one of these stories is true? Consider something like Craig Keener’s massive two-volume work Miracles. Is every miracle claim in that book a bona fide miracle? Doubtful. Some are better attested than others. In fact, aside from the resurrection of Jesus, it could be that every miracle story is false in there and Christianity and/or theism are still true.

Now, what of the other end? If even one of them does not have a materialistic or naturalistic explanation for what happened, then atheism is in trouble unless one is found. It simply has to be false. The same could hypothetically be said of evolution for some. As a Christian theist, if macroevolution is true, I lose nothing, but for the atheist, as Plantinga has said, evolution is the only game in town.

Watch next time a miracle claim is presented and see how both sides react. While it couldn’t hurt us to be cautious and not believe every claim that comes along, one side has to have it that their position on the claim is absolutely right. One side depends on only one option being the true one.

It’s not ours.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Christian Delusion Chapter 15

Was Christianity responsible for modern science? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re finishing up our look at John….John…John….Loftus! That’s it! John Loftus’s book! Anyway, for this last chapter, we have Richard Carrier brought back again. (Keep in mind, for Carrier, it’s important to have the Richard Carrier theme playing while reading anything he says.)

Anyway, Carrier is writing about how Christianity is not responsible for modern science. Of course, he still hasn’t responded that I’ve seen to Tim O’Neill’s work at History for Atheists. This time, Carrier is responding to the claim that Christianity is responsible for the rise of modern science.

Carrier starts with his usual kind of statement. He argues that it’s not only false, but it’s so egregiously false that if someone has the slightest academic competence they should know it’s false. Therefore, its defenders, who claim to be scholars, must be “embarrassingly incompetent, perversely dishonest, or wildly deluded.”

We can all give thanks that Richard Carrier has come to provide light for those who have been wandering in the darkness of sheer stupidity. The academy missed this, but thankfully, Carrier has come to enlighten us. We all eagerly await the entire overturning of the academy with Carrier’s Jesus Mythicism as well.

There are many claims in this chapter. I have no desire to go and peruse everything. Carrier has a habit anyway of getting claims remarkably wrong as we saw in our last chapter that we reviewed of his. Carrier says that Stark has been criticized by this point, but not by an expert in ancient science and Christianity. I was curious to see who Carrier had found to be an expert, but of course, he only meant himself.

I’m just more inclined to trust the editors of Newton’s Apple And Other Myths About Science where the very first chapter deals with science and Christianity and who is one of the main spreaders of the myth? It’s Richard Carrier! Carrier’s hubris has often come back to bite him in the end so I really recommend with anything he writes, read it with extra suspicion.

So if someone is wanting a step by step examination of everything, I’m not the one to do that. I have no wish to go and track down all the references that Carrier has given. I have enough of his history to know to be entirely skeptical and I am sure those wanting more can find it.

So we conclude Loftus’s book and I conclude that Loftus doesn’t really have much of anything here. I was challenged to read this book by an atheist and I didn’t really find anything in here that was a challenge to me. It’s quite interesting, but the more I read non-Christian literature, the more and more I find how weak it is. I think of how Chesterton got reading a book, I think it was by Ingersoll, and put it down and said, “Almost dost thou persuade me to be a Christian.” Sometimes, one of the best demonstrations of Christianity is seeing how its critics treat it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters