Reading Disagreeing Material

Do you have guarded reading? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I encounter internet atheists, I usually ask them the same question. When was the last time you read an academic work on the topic that disagrees with you? The overwhelming majority of the time, I get nothing back. I find this fascinating since these people claim to be champions of reason and evidence, but are often only interested in seeing it from their perspective.

Yes. Sadly, too many Christians who argue do the same thing. Still, I do notice that it seems we do it less. I can’t claim to have data for this, but when I see Christians engage with atheists, many of them know the atheist arguments and can in many cases articulate them better.

I’m on pages for debate between Christians and Mormons. What do I notice? Christians seem a lot more familiar with Mormon arguments than the other way around. The same happens with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses I see nowadays don’t even get the Trinity described right, confusing it with modalism, let alone know how to argue against it.

For Muslims, I still remember a day several years ago when I was engaging with a Muslim online and in it I asked him “Have you ever read the New Testament?” He replied, “No. Have you ever read the Qur’an?” I am sure he expected a negative back, but unfortunately for him, he didn’t get it. I had indeed read it. Now, I have read it twice.

When Mormons come to visit me, I can assure them I have read all of their Scriptures and a number of other pro-Mormon writings. When a new Bart Ehrman book comes out, I’m one of the first to get it. I had this last one so quickly that when it came out, some of my professors on campus asked me what I thought of it.

When I read Christian writings arguing for their positions against their opponents, I find they constantly reference primary sources they disagree with. I have written long ago that sadly, atheist writers often don’t do this. Reading through them, I can tell. When you meet atheists espousing Jesus mythicism or saying “If God created everything, who created God?” and treating it like that refutes the cosmological argument, it’s clear that they don’t know the material.

As a Christian, if you do this, the advantage you have is that first off, you know the material that you are going up against. No one can know it exhaustively, but you know it enough to be familiar. A general rule of thumb is that before you argue against a position, you ought to be able to theoretically argue persuasively FOR that position. If you can’t make that case without making it a total joke, you probably don’t know the position at all.

This also increases your humility. Doing this is a way of saying “I could be wrong and I want to know.” If you are of the mindset that you don’t have to read the other side because you already know they’re bunk, odds are the only person being fooled is you.

Third, as a Christian, this can show you flaws in your own positions that you hold. Sometimes, you might change your mind. Other times, you can see a weakness and refine your position. Sometimes, you might find something you agree with in the writing. I can say I have learned from reading the material that I disagree with.

There can be something we can learn from so many other positions. I have said before that Richard Dawkins when writing about theism or philosophy or anything outside of his area has no clue and is just a train wreck. When he writes about science, what you would consider the most ordinary of all is made wondrous and alive and I could read him all day. The best work Dawkins does for science is not when he argues against Christianity. He does great damage to science then. The best work he does is when he just writes about science as science. He doesn’t tie his worldview into it. He just describes it. If he did this more often, he would encourage more people of all worldviews to go into science and study it.

Definitely if you’re an apologist, read what you disagree with. I’m always going through at least one book I disagree with on Kindle. I started a new one just recently, but before that, I had returned to some Islamic hadiths. The learning is always beneficial.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Was Paul A Deceiver?

Can you trust Paul? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you’ve spent any time here, you know I don’t really take fundamentalist atheist arguments seriously. They’re notoriously bad. Bottom of the barrel. Hard to get any worse.

With one exception.

Muslim apologetics is far worse.

So yesterday, I’m browsing through Facebook and what do I see but this?

It really hurts how bad this is. I think I’m even more embarrassed some organization wanted to put their name at the bottom of this. Yes. Someone actually wants to claim ownership and let people know that they made this.

Where do I start?

Okay. Well first off, I do question that Romans 7 is autobiographical. You can see also here. That being said, even if it was about Paul, what is the worst we get here? We get a man who is obvious about the spiritual struggles that he is going through and speaks in the hyperbolic terminology that is normal for Jewish thinkers at the time.

Keep in mind, when Muhammad started having his experiences, he was convinced for a time that he was demonically possessed or was going crazy or something similar to that. If I am to reject Paul on these grounds, should I not do the same with Muhammad? Again, I don’t think Romans 7 is about Paul, but even if I did think that, I would not see this as a problem.

So let’s look at this second one. Ah yes, look at that trickster Paul there. He’s quite the sly one isn’t he? He caught his opponents by trickery!

Unless you do something strange and actually go and read the whole passage. Go take a look. You can find it right here.

Our Muslim friends don’t seem to know it, but there’s a thing in the world called sarcasm. Paul is employing it here. Yes. He tricked those Corinthians. He tricked them so much by…..not taking anything from them and having others cover the bill.

Yep! Crafty fellow he is! He gave the Corinthians his ministry and didn’t charge them anything for it!

Keep in mind, this is something that should be easy to understand, but it is not apparently to the Muslim mind.

So let’s look at the last one. Again, Paul is a trickster. He becomes all things to all people. How sneaky he is!

Let’s suppose you love hamburgers. Let’s now suppose you want to go and do ministry in India. At this point, I don’t care if you’re Muslim or Christian. Question. If you are wanting to reach the people in India, do you think it would benefit you to go to the Indian people, tell them about your God, and then start eating a hamburger in front of them?

Absolutely not. The cow is a sacred animal to them. They would not want to have anything to do with your message at that point.

I love my tea, but when I have Mormons over to visit me, I don’t drink tea in front of them. For Mormons, that violates the Word of Wisdom. If I was to visit Muslims and do ministry, even though I don’t eat pork products, I would definitely make sure to not eat them in front of Muslims.

This is what Paul is talking about. He doesn’t want to needlessly offend his Jewish audience he wants to convert, so in front of them, he follows Jewish dietary practices and other observances. In front of Gentiles, he lives much more freely. It’s all about being culturally appropriate. That’s not being deceitful. That’s being respectful.

And really, no one has to do a lot of thinking to see what’s going on in these passages. Sadly, I have seen internet atheists use this argument. Will Muslims stop using this one if they read this blog?

We can hope, but color me skeptical.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Book Plunge: The Critical Qur’an

What do I think of Robert Spencer’s work? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Robert Spencer has gone through the Qur’an and given us information on the passages as well as pointed to leading scholars, past and present, to tell us about the origin of the Suras and about textual criticism. I had got this book several months ago, but I chose to wait until I finished the book before I reviewed it. I also wasn’t reading one sura (our equivalent of a chapter) every day, seeing as these can be long. A small number even have more verses than Psalm 119.

Some of you might be thinking this could be like the Skeptics’ Annotated Bible. I am pleased to say that it is not. It is not the case that Spencer jumps on anything that could be an inconsistency. There are times he even says that a claim against the Qur’an here is a poor one. Of course, he points out problems, but generally, it looks like his biggest goal can be to help with understanding.

One big problem some Muslims could have with the work is that he definitely shows textual variations that occur within the book. This is a problem since Muslims will often argue that there are no variations in the text. They say that the Qur’an is an eternal document that has always been with Allah. Of course, this gets us problems when we get to the abrogated passages, and that too will be discussed.

As I indicated earlier, Spencer interacts as well with Muslim sources of the past. This is important since it would be akin to us going to the church fathers to show the earliest handling of the text. These people were the ones closest to the writing of the book and were the ones most invested in the work.

This isn’t just a book for people who have never read the Qur’an. When I saw David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics talking about the book, he said that he got new information on his look at the very first sura, and Wood has done a lot of work on dealing with Islam. That was enough to convince me that this was a resource that I could use.

Thus, you have a work here that goes through the Qur’an and yet thankfully, unlike the work of Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, I find to be fair. Spencer deals with misconceptions of the text. While there is no doubt he is opposed to Islam and the Qur’an, he also wants to be accurate in all that he says. He’s not going to jump on anything to go after it and he wants to make sure bad arguments against various passages are also dealt with.

One caveat though and I suspect it’s one that Spencer would not have a problem with. If you wanted to read something like Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, I would encourage you to at least read just the Bible first without any feedback along the way. In the same way, if you have not read the Qur’an on your own, as I had, then I encourage you to read it first and then come back and read the Critical Qur’an. It’s all about being fair with the text after all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Generous Reading

How do you read a text that’s controversial? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, rather, it only appeared to them. (Qur’an 4:157)”

This is a text from Islam’s holy book that many apologists use to say that Jesus was not crucified. Many Muslims do the same as you will find books about the “Cruci-fiction” out there. However, it was when I was reading a Christian book about Islam that I came to a different conclusion.

It’s not a hard and fast conclusion, but it’s one that is possible. That is that the Qur’an is not really denying the crucifixion, but it is rather answering the Jews who thought they brought it about and is saying it was really the doing of Allah. The author of the book argued that Muslims didn’t make denial of the crucifixion a claim until some time much later than the time of Muhammad.

That could be right. The point is that I don’t know enough about the Qur’an to know if that interpretation is correct or not. However, I do know that there is a right and a wrong way to read a text. If I have read the text and there can be a reasonable doubt that there could be a more generous reading of that text, I will not go with the reading that I have.

This is also a rule to follow with any text, and that includes texts that aren’t written, such as in speeches. If a case can be made for a more generous reading of a text that doesn’t present it in as negative a light as you would like, following the principle of charity, it’s good to be open to that one and not hold dogmatically to the one you have.

I did the same going through the Book of Mormon one time. When I would find something mentioned as existing here in America at the time, I would look and see if it was there. If it was found here, then I would go right on ahead. If I found evidence that that came to America at a later date, I would put it down as an item to use. After all, anachronisms are a powerful argument. For instance, it was either cement or concrete that I did find evidence of being over here. Scimitars? Not so much.

Note that this rule applies with all things being equal. It doesn’t mean the better reading is always right, but it does mean that if there is an equal probability of the two or it’s controversial and you don’t know the subject well, go with the one that is the more generous. If you don’t do that, it could be that you really want that person behind the text to be as bad as you want them to be.

I also want to stress that this isn’t a rule just for the Bible as I started out with texts that I do not think are from God in anyway whatsoever. I will happily debate that many Muslims do deny the crucifixion, which is certainly a fact, but that does not mean that the Qur’an necessarily does. If a Muslim denies the crucifixion in front of me, then I will argue against them on that point.

If you do know the subject well though and you can make a case that this is what the author of the text originally meant, then by all means make the case. This is in no way saying authors and books never say evil and/or stupid things. It’s just a general rule of thumb and it’s good for holy texts (Or claimed holy texts), political speeches, or any other text whatsoever.

This will also help your debates as someone is more apt to listen to you (Not a guarantee mind you) if they know you are really listening to them. Everyone wants to be treated fairly most of the time. If you’re a Christian, you are commanded to. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want someone to be generous with your words, then do the same with theirs.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Woke

What do I think of Titania McGrath’s book published by Constable? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Truly, we have a budding genius in our times whose writing will bring about a new Copernican Revolution. Then again, she would prefer we call this a McGrathian since Copernicus was obviously a racist and sexist cis white male. Everyone of us should be blessed by reading McGrath’s work.

Obviously, everything is tongue in cheek here. Titania McGrath doesn’t really exist. She is the creation of Andrew Doyle. Her satirical work is meant to make fun of woke culture and does a superb job. I found something that made me laugh on most every page.

Consider some examples:

The conservative broadcaster Ben Shapiro ( whose opinions are always wrong ) bases much of what he believes on facts, which just goes to show how useless they are. ‘ Facts don’t care about your feelings, ’ he is known to say. The opposite is true. Feelings don’t care about your facts. This is how social justice works. If you feel something to be true, then it is true.

One might be tempted to think that it’s obvious that feelings don’t determine reality, but then look at our culture. Is that not what is too often happening? When it comes to transgenderism, what data is pointed to but feelings? Now working on changing the feelings isn’t acceptable. One must change the body instead. Speaking of transgender:

“Anybody who has ever taken even a rudimentary course in Gender Studies will know that there are literally no biological differences between men and women. Except in the case of trans people, who are born in the wrong body.”

“I mention all of this because enlightened society now realizes that gender is fluid, the outdated categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ being dictatorial taxonomies assigned randomly at birth. Some ‘ experts ’ still maintain that there are only two sexes. The idea that knowledge is more important than feelings is everything that is wrong with the field of modern science.”

We should all know that so much of this is nonsense. However, when it is put in a satirical form, it becomes that much more enjoyable. That is the way satire is supposed to work.

There’s much more than just transgenderism. McGrath speaks about Islam as well.

In order to achieve wokeness, one must treat Muslims with special sensitivity. This is essential given the increasingly vehement forms of prejudice they face due to damaging stereotypes in the media and popular culture, as well as legitimate grievances in Islamic communities, which have arisen as a direct corollary of Western depredations in international conflicts. Also, some of them have bombs.

What makes this so funny is the last part. Bart Ehrman was once asked why he doesn’t do what he does with the New Testament to the Qur’an. His answer was quite revealing.

And what happens when there is an attack by a Muslim? You go after the logical target, the Christians. We’ve seen it happen before.

Every time I hear about another act of jihadist terrorism my heart sinks because I know there’ll be a horrible Islamophobic backlash. Whatever their crimes, nothing that ISIS have ever done comes close to the acts perpetrated by the European nations during the Crusades. Surely in the face of modern-day jihadism, we need to be focusing on the misdeeds of medieval Christians. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy.

And going on those standards,

Westerners have to understand that there is a civil war raging within Islam, and moderates are trying to reform the more problematic beliefs. We could see evidence of this when Islam was rebranded as The Religion Of Peace ™, which I think we can all agree is much catchier. This also helps to remind everyone that when somebody drives a truck into a group of pedestrians, shouting ‘ Allahu Akbar ’, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.

You can try to deny it, but remember the Fort Hood shooting? It was marked as workplace violence. I still remember all the memes going around about the Crusades being workplace violence.

Feminism is also a target.

If women choose to sacrifice the prospect of a career in order to breed, that is of course up to them. By doing so, however, they are embodying all that is rotten in patriarchal society. They have internalized their misogyny to such a degree that they genuinely believe that raising a child is more important and rewarding than earning money.

Most of us would laugh at this, except we see it happening. Many of us do place money over what matters most like children. How many of us neglect our families at times for lesser goods?

How many times also have we said something about safe spaces at universities and conservative speakers being chased off of campus?

Student unions at universities are currently spearheading the battle against free speech through the creation of ‘ safe spaces ’ where debate is outlawed if the topics are potentially triggering. At Oxford, a debate on abortion was canceled because a man with incorrect views was scheduled to appear. Debates are all very well in principle, but there’s no need to represent all sides of an argument. One protestor, Niamh McIntyre, said, ‘ The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups. ’ A university is hardly the appropriate place for exploring alternative ideas.

Something like this is so incredible since a university is exactly where you should be exploring alternative ideas. We should all welcome debate on controversial topics. As I write this post even, I am dealing with atheists on a JW page who are doing everything they can to avoid reading a book that disagrees with them.

And as for pop culture:

Hip hop music is sublime, with the exception of white rap artists such as Eminem, Vanilla Ice, and Pam Ayres. But while enjoying rap, one must guard against cultural appropriation. When Kendrick Lamar invited a white fan onto the stage to sing along to his song ‘ M.A. A.D City ’ at a concert in Alabama, he was forced to interrupt when she repeatedly used the n-word. Nobody can fathom why the girl indulged in this racist outburst. Some have surmised that it might have something to do with the word being a continual feature in the song’s lyrics.

This is something I have often thought about and yes, I think much of this music does much damage to the culture by instilling ideas that do promote the usage of women especially.

Woke is a hilarious read and one that is not too long. Christian readers need to know the book does contain language that would not be appropriate for your children. The point is that this is satire done extremely well and those who enjoy political humor should read it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews Worship the Same God? Four Views.

What do I think of Ronnie Campbell and Christopher Gnanakan’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When a Wheaton professor wore a hijab, it led to a major evangelical controversy. Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same God? In this volume, four different views are shared on the topic. If you think the answers are simply yes or no, you’re mistaken. So what are these views?

Wm. Andrew Schwartz and John B. Cobb Jr. both take the view of yes, we all worship the same God. Francis Beckwith takes the idea that in a way, we all do worship the same as a referent. Gerald McDermott holds a shared revelation view where Jews and Christians worship the same God, but not Muslims. Jerry Walls takes the position that none worship the same God.

Now going in, my position was very much that of Jerry Walls. I do think there are generic theistic arguments that can be used for all three of the Abrahamic faiths and you can only know which one is true by special revelation, but when we look at the deities described in the revelation, they’re very different. Namely, it comes down to the view of Jesus. Since Jesus is fully God and fully man, Christians necessarily worship a Trinity.

I found the first view of all worship the same God being the most unconvincing. For instance, it was said that there are many Christianities. At this point, I have to wonder if the authors have any idea what it means to be a Christian because if Christianity can be anything, then it means nothing.

It’s hard to disagree with Francis Beckwith, and as Jerry Walls said in the book, especially when he begins with an analogy involving Superman. (We’ll try to forgive him for never mentioning the Smallville series.) Still, at the end of the day, I just can’t sign easily on the dotted line. It’s hard to think that the Father of Jesus is the God of Muhammad.

Gerald McDermott would agree as he thinks there’s a radical division between Islam and Christianity. However, there was not any dispute among the Jews and Christians at the start about which God was worshipped. Therefore, Jews and Christians worship the same God. Muslims do not. This can make sense, but I agree with Walls that McDermott does seem to move too quickly through the doctrines of the Trinity, the resurrection, and the incarnation.

Finally, we get to Walls’s view. This is the view I did find the most convincing. Now you could say it’s because I approached the book with this view so yeah, bias is always a part, but also when one studies for years, they don’t form positions lightly. In all fairness, the positions of Beckwith and McDermott I did think made some good points.

Walls also did bring up something else that needed to be discussed. Even if we think they all worship the same God, does that count towards salvation for them? I wish the other authors had said more about that question. I don’t think Beckwith and McDermott would hold to a pluralistic view, but I wonder if the first authors might.

There are also two essays afterwards, mainly on evangelizing Muslims. These are good to have, but shouldn’t we include something on evangelizing Jews as well? Judaism is much smaller in number to be sure, but why not have one chapter on Muslims and one on Jews? Jews need their Messiah too, after all.

If this question interests you, then you should get this book. The extra benefit besides just the replies to the authors on their essay is the author of each essay gives one quick counter-reply to all the others. I like this touch and wish it would be used more often.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Christianity At The Religious Round Table

What do I think of Timothy Tennent’s book published by Baker Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the past, a Christian growing up would likely never encounter a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Muslim, at least in a place like America. Now, you encounter them in a wide number of places. A church my wife and I attend has a ministry to Indian people in the area. Many Hollywood celebrities practice Buddhism. Oprah Winfrey regularly shares Eastern thought on her broadcasts. Islam seems to always be in the news and 9/11 has a permanent memory with many of us.

Even if a Christian lives out somewhere in the boondocks surrounded by Christians, if they get on the internet, they will encounter other worldviews. Nowadays, learning about other worldviews for a Christian is not just an option. It is mandatory.

Fortunately, Timothy Tennent has written a book where he does interact with other worldviews from the perspective of one who has spent some time in serious study of those worldviews. Tennent gives a brief explanation of major ideas in Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic thought. Then he has a dialogue with holders of those worldviews and lets us see how the interaction is to take place.

He also has three bonus sections at the end that aren’t dialogue, but do look at how one interacts with other religions and how some have done it in history. Anyone interested in interacting with this kind of thought needs to go through this area as well. There is also a section beforehand on different views of exclusivism and inclusivism so Christians can see where they fall on the spectrum.

The information in the book is certainly excellent. Be warned that when many of us read sections on Hinduism and Buddhism, self included, it is easy to get lost. This is because you really do get to see how different Eastern thought is from the way that we generally think and the terminology is terminology that we are not familiar with. I don’t think this is the fault of Tennent at all when it’s sometimes hard to follow. I think it’s just that we’re so far away from the system that we don’t know how to process it.

Some people might be surprised that the information on Islam doesn’t cover terrorism. The book was published after 9/11, but I suspect Tennent wanted to focus more on the doctrinal issues than that. That could be a good topic of further dialogue in the future if one is interested.

If anything would be changed, I would have liked to have seen some names attached to the participants in the dialogue and perhaps rather than just long pieces, have more immediate give and take like a conversation. Names would have made the dialogue seem more personable. Perhaps we should have some sections of longer parts and some of shorter parts. For shorter parts, I think of the writings of Peter Kreeft he has, such as those with Socrates.

Still, if you want some good information on these beliefs, this book is an excellent place to go. You will walk away with a better understanding of these worldviews. Again, you have to have this knowledge if you want to be effective today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Saving Truth

What do I think of Abdu Murray’s new book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Murray is writing about a situation that I have thought for a long time has plagued the church. It is that we live in a post-truth society. Nowadays, the truth doesn’t even matter. How someone feels about a claim matters or how well it serves an end-game is what matters.

This isn’t the fault of the world alone. The church is also to blame. The church determines truths based on feelings just as much as the world does. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard about doing something as you “feel led.”

There’s also the fact that Christians can just as easily spread false information. Last night, I had to deal with a family member who shared a news story that I could tell in less than a minute was false. Going further, I found that the website also held to the idea that 9-11 is an inside job. Yep. Real reliable source there.

I get greatly bothered when I see something like this happen. We have the job of trying to convince people that Jesus rose from the dead, a fact that they cannot check the veracity of immediately, but we will so easily share stories that can be easily seen as fake? Doesn’t that damage our witness of the Gospel?

Murray also writes about our misunderstanding of freedom. We think by freedom that there is a certain something that has no hold on us. That is true to an extent, but it like saying being literate means that you can decipher symbols in an alphabet. Yes, you can, but you need to able to do more. You read so you can learn much more that there is to learn. You read so that you can be a better person.

In the same way, you are free not to pursue whatever you want to do, but you are free so that you can pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful. You are free to live for something greater than yourself. Freedom is not about you get to do whatever you want, but you are free to do as you should.

Murray also talks about issues of human dignity, what does it mean to be a human? Do we treat human beings as objects more in this day and age? What about issues of abortion?

Issues of sex and gender are definitely on the stage. Murray begins this chapter with a question a woman asked in an open forum about Christianity and homosexuality. It dominates the landscape in this chapter as Murray keeps thinking about it. Murray deals with the purpose of sexuality and questions relating to transgenderism as well. What does it mean to be a man or a woman?

Murray also deals with questions of science and of pluralism. Both of these are issues that strike our epistemology. Science is seen today as the only way to truth. Pluralism is seen as rude and exclusive.

There are many issues discussed in Murray’s book. Each of them in itself is worthy of a book-length work. Murray’s book is a good look at these topics and often shared from the perspective of an ex-Muslim who had to realize that truth mattered more than anything else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 12/162017: Andy Bannister

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

The Qur’an is a book many Christians aren’t really familiar with. Muslims and Muslim apologists will often talk about the perfection of the Qur’an. The Bible after all supposedly has so many textual difficulties and which version do you read? Not the case with the Qur’an after all! There’s only one Qur’an! There aren’t manuscript difficulties with it! This book came from Allah Himself through the angel Gabriel and delivered to Muhammad.

But what if it’s not true?

Could it be that there has been study done into the Qur’an and found that these claims are lacking? Could it be that we know more about the formulation of the Qur’an than is realized? Could it be the Qur’an is much more human than realized? While the authors of the Bible having their humanity influence the way it was written has been understood, is it the same with the Qur’an?

To discuss this, I have asked someone to come on who understands the Bible very well. I asked someone who has studied this at the highest level and has written about it to help explain it. He’s been on the show before and this time he’s on to talk about the Qur’an. His name is Andy Bannister.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

I am the Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity and an Adjunct Speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, speaking and teaching regularly throughout the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA, and the wider world. From universities to churches, business forums to TV and radio, I regularly address audiences of both Christians and those of all faiths and none on issues relating to faith, culture, politics and society.

I hold a PhD in Islamic studies and have taught extensively at universities across Canada, the USA, the UK and further afield on both Islam and philosophy. I am also an Adjunct Research Fellow at The Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

I am the author of An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an (a groundbreaking and innovative study that reveals many of the ways the Qur’an was first composed) and Heroes: Five Lessons From Whose Lives We Can Learn, an exciting and fast-moving look at the lives of five incredible giants of the Christian faith. My latest book, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (or: The Dreadful Consequences of Really Bad Arguments), is a humorous engagement with the New Atheism. I also co-wrote and presented the TV documentary, Burning Questions.

When not travelling, speaking, or writing, I am a keen hiker, mountain climber and photographer. I am married to Astrid and we have two children, Caitriona and Christopher.

I hope you’ll be interested as we have this hour-long discussion on the nature of the Qur’an. Please be watching your podcast feed for this episode. If you can also, go and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast on iTunes. I love to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Secret Battle of Ideas About God

What do I think of Jeff Myers’s book published by David C. Cook? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jeff Myers’s latest book certainly starts off getting your attention. How can it not with talking about people who were directly tied in to 9/11? This then gets directly linked to virus outbreaks that have taken place which is finally compared with the idea of mind viruses. Myers doesn’t mean some disease you need to go see your doctor about, but rather ideas that spread and people don’t have much defense for, including and especially, younger Christians.

Myers work is to deal with a problem which is that many of our younger Christians believe things that are entirely at odds with orthodox Christianity and they don’t even realize it. They’ve been made victims in a war that they don’t even realize that they’re fighting in, something immediately reminiscent of The Green Book is Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. These people have not been given a Christian worldview. As I’ve said many times before, it might be shocking to realize that to develop a good Christian lifestyle, you might need to have more than concerts and pizza parties at church.

Myers says that there are essentially five other kinds of worldviews, though no doubt there is some overlapping. These are secularism, Marxism, postmodernism, New Spirituality, and Islam. As I write this, I know Christian friends who have fallen especially for New Spirituality and Islam. Myers contrasts these worldviews with Christianity in the book.

One good aspect about the book is Myers is very open about himself and his own struggles and mistakes. When he writes about a failed marriage, he doesn’t hide it. When he talks about anger with God, that’s out there in the open. When he talks about mistakes in the past in the area of sex, that’s right there. When he says that counseling drains him, he means it. That kind of openness I admire.

Those questions are relevant because what Myers is really dealing with in the book is existential questions. Am I loved? Why am I hurting? Does life have any meaning? Can’t we all just get along? Is there hope for the world? Does God matter? Many of us in apologetics would like to leap straight to the questions of if God exists or if Jesus rose from the dead, but many people are not starting with those questions. They’re starting with these. We need to get to those questions, but how does Christianity answer these questions in contrast to other worldviews?

Myers’s book is clear and easy to read. You don’t have to be a professional philosopher to understand his arguments. There’s about 200 pages of content, but it’s still a relatively short read and it’s one that you could present to someone who is exploring Christianity and wondering about these kinds of questions.

If there was something I would like to see more of, it is that while the book is clear that Christianity does answer these questions, that doesn’t show Christianity is true. It’s fine to have a book dedicated to existential questions, but I would have liked to have seen a section at the end that would include apologetics books for further reading on the other questions that can show that Christianity is true. Perhaps it could point to other authors like J. Warner Wallace and Lee Strobel.

Still, this is a good book to read to help with the questions. It’s easy to read that when I finished, I put it in a stack of books for my wife so that she could go through it as she’s been learning a lot about these questions as well. If she does go through it, I am sure she will be blessed by it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters


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