Removing God From Evil

Why does it not make sense to me to see people make the argument from evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Suppose you know the basic Christian claims, but you don’t know the reasons behind them. You don’t know the case for why Jesus rose from the dead and you don’t know the case for the existence of God. Suppose also that you don’t really know the arguments for atheism. You don’t see a strong case for something like evolution so you’re skeptical. Essentially, you’re a more neutral person in this debate. I realize this is highly unlikely, but this is a thought analogy.

Now you are presented with the problem of evil. Again, you don’t know a strong case against God or for God one way or the other. All you know is that if you go with this problem, then you have a case for not thinking God exists. It’s not a certain one, but it’s a probabilistic one. However, you also know something else about the problem of evil.

You know the problem of evil entails real suffering. You know a woman being raped involves real suffering. You know children starving in Africa involves real suffering. You know that there have been such evils in the past as 9/11 and the holocaust.

You also know that on atheism, at least what you are presented, those are still being seen as evil. You also know that on theism, especially Christian theism, there is a good God who is involved in some way you are told and will one day redeem the suffering people go through and bring about justice. You don’t know how this will happen or when, but you know on Christianity, it is claimed to be happening someday.

Then you start to think. “If I go with this argument, then I remove God from the picture and if I do, there is no basis for redemption of suffering or future justice.” That means that the rapist can still get away with it. That means the children dying just pass out of existence. That means that some people who were involved in the holocaust will never face ultimate justice.

You remove God from the picture, and yet the evil still exists. The person who has been raped has still been raped. The child who is dying in Africa is still dying. 9/11 and the holocaust still happened regardless.

What have you gained from this? You still have the problem and not a solution. It would seem that on a practical ground at least, you would want theism of some kind to be true. Note that I am not speaking on the argumentative level here. I am not saying at this point the arguments for Christian theism or atheism are better. I’m speaking about which one would you at least want to be true?

From my standpoint, at least on theism, you can have some level of hope regardless. If the rapist is never found, you can at least believe that there is a God who will judge him one day. If you go through suffering, you can at least believe that that suffering will be redeemed not just for good, but also for your good. You can believe that the innocents who die can be brought into the loving manifest presence of God and enjoy Him forever.

To be fair, I could also understand an atheist who would see this and say “It would be wonderful if that was true, and I honestly wish it was, but I don’t believe that it is.” That’s a fair position. I don’t understand anyone who would say, “I really don’t want that to be true. I don’t want justice to be brought to the evildoer and I don’t want suffering to be redeemed for good.” That doesn’t really make sense. You could go on and say it’s a fairy tale if you want to, but still say, “It would be nice though if that fairy tale was true.”

For me then, when I then look at the arguments for and against Christian theism, the arguments for have a lot more power to them. Evil is a very good argument to appeal to one’s emotions, but from a rational and a practical standpoint, I find it greatly lacking. This is not to say one cannot argue against God on other grounds, but evil is not the best one. It also is not to say that one should say Christian theism is true because they want it to be true. Not at all. None of this is an argument for Christian theism. It is just a way of looking at the problem as it is presented.

This is definitely nothing against making arguments for theism and definitely not saying we don’t need to answer the problem of evil. We do. This is just my saying from a practical standpoint, the argument doesn’t make sense. It might seem to gain an intellectual victory perhaps, but it doesn’t really change the suffering and removes the hope in the face of that suffering.

Also, none of this resolves us whatever our viewpoint of our responsibility. While those of us who are Christians do believe in prayer, if we just pray while there is something more we can do, then we have not done enough. If you have a loved one in a car accident and they are in the doctor’s care, then prayer is about all you can do, but you could possibly also visit the rest of the family and be support. You might not be able to go overseas and feed starving children in Africa, but you can support a missionary or special program to help provide food and water for them.

By the way, one such organization to go to is Jonathan’s Impact. They are friends of Deeper Waters. Jonathan was a young boy who I never got to meet, but looked up to me from a distance and I invested a lot of time in this fine young man. His death is certainly a tragedy, but his parents are fulfilling a deep desire that Jonathan had. If you want to help out the people in Africa, please consider this organization.

So in the end, I find from just a practical standpoint the argument from evil removes hope. From a philosophical standpoint on other grounds, I find it just fails. However, if I didn’t have the philosophy, I would at least want something like Christian theism to be true.

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

Isaiah 45:7

Did God create evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

You’re reading in Isaiah and you come across this passage in 45:7.

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all theseĀ things.”

If you’re a Christian, this doesn’t seem right. If you’re an atheist, you jump up and down like you just found buried treasure and go straight on Facebook to share your profound knowledge that even the Bible teaches that God created evil. Take that Christians! Your God is the source of evil Himself!

But if you’re thoughtful on either side, you pause and ask what is going on in the passage. That’s really a much more rational approach to take. After all, if something seems to go against the whole thrust of the story, then you need to see if you might be misunderstanding something. To my atheist readers, you should also want to be sure of this. You know how you think some Christians can embarrass themselves, and they do, when they don’t know anything about evolution and argue against it? Don’t be the same with the Bible.

So what is going on? This passage is talking about Cyrus going out before the Lord to bring about judgment. Like Babylon, Cyrus will be an instrument of God. Yes. I know atheists are already having an issue about a man’s name being given 200 years in advance, but the dating of Isaiah is a separate point to this one so let’s bookshelf that one for now. We’re taking the passage as is.

God is then talking about what He brings about in the world. Light and darkness are the first examples. Many of us don’t like the dark, but darkness does not necessarily equal evil. The night time is not an evil time. In Scripture, God is the God of the night time just as much as He is of the day. The night is a blessed time where we can all sleep and recharge for the next day.

However, we can see light and darkness as opposites. These are parallels. Sometimes in Hebrew, this is known as a merism. You mention two opposite things to include everything between them. When the Bible says God created the Heavens and the Earth, it is talking about two contrasting objects that really means in essence, everything. God made it all.

When we see the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this is also a merism. It doesn’t mean that the couple had no idea of good or evil beforehand or any epistemology. It is speaking in language of wisdom more than anything else. It is saying that Adam and Eve by taking the fruit would make themselves to be the source of wisdom and order for their lives and not God. We should all know in Scripture wisdom is kind of a big deal.

So it is with this, we see light and darkness to form a contrast. Then we look at the next topic. That’s peace and evil. Attentive readers should realize this doesn’t exactly work the same way as light and darkness. We know those two are opposites. Peace and evil are not necessarily opposites. We can say peace is good, but is it always. Suppose no one ever went to war to stop Hitler and his concentration camps. Jews were rounded up around Europe and destroyed. Would Europe have peace? Sure. Would that be good. No. War was a good thing here because it brought an end to suffering. I realize one could say the Jews didn’t have peace, and that is true, but the good benefit of World War II was we brought peace to them and to Europe by stopping an evil man.

Even more, we can look at the Hebrew words here. The word for peace is Shalom, which is to be expected, and the word for evil is ra. Ra can mean evil, but it can mean a variety of things, even bad figs. Hebrew is in some ways a limited language where one word can have multiple meanings.

The word is used in Genesis to describe the bad vines and cows in the dreams of Pharaoh. Jacob uses the word to describe sorrow if he lost Benjamin. It describes mischief in Exodus 32. It describes beasts in Leviticus 26, which I don’t think can be considered evil. The thing is, I could easily keep going and list more examples. If you want to see more, they’re all available online. I have no need to keep demonstrating the point.

Not only that, the best opposite word for evil would be Tov. That would mean goodness, as it does in Genesis 1. That is not what is used. So what is being said?

It’s talking about calamity. God can bring that about on a people that He says are doing evil. God is a God of judgment. If people do evil, God will judge them eventually which can be in the form of calamity. Why should He allow peace for a nation that is evil and disregards Him? If we want justice at all in this world, we have to realize some people will experience calamity.

So to Christian readers, no need to panic. God did not create evil. To atheist readers, no need to jump up and down as if you found the Fountain of Youth. The argument you want is not here.

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

Colorado Shooting And Mental Illness

What is the main culprit? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Another shooting has taken place and I know the media went one way immediately and jumped to race. Well, that didn’t age well. While conservatives like myself disagree with them on that, too many times, conservatives will also say the other culprit that exists in these cases in their minds along with the media and that is mental illness.

I realize that the family is saying that the shooter (Let’s not mention his name) was mentally ill. They could be right, but that is not an assessment to be made lightly. Many of us have a problem, and rightly so, when someone claims to be an internet doctor where they diagnose themselves going on Web M.D. After all, you look up symptoms for a common cold and walk away thinking you have terminal cancer.

The same applies to mental illness. Diagnosing yourself is not recommended. One is supposed to go see a therapist or trained psychiatrist, someone professional, to get a diagnosis. It’s also not wise to diagnose someone from a distance. These are not light claims.

Yet whenever a shooting like this takes place, mental illness is brought up immediately. Why? Well, surely someone who would do a great evil like this is mentally ill. No one in their right mind would do this.

Why not?

People who have no mental illness do things that are wrong everyday. Sure, not to the level of a mass shooting, but they do evil and some do so with a clear conscience. I consider abortion a great evil and people go and get one in their right minds because they buy into the idea that they are not killing a human person.

Not only that, but we speak of mental illness as if it were a clear term all throughout. It’s not. Mental illness is a wide umbrella that contains many conditions under it. Consider if I said hospitals are for people who are sick. Okay. That doesn’t mean you need to go to the ER for the common cold despite that being a sickness. It’s more for people who have serious conditions like cancer or who need to do some serious operation.

The same with mental illness. Many people with mental illnesses would not do a great evil like this just like many regular people wouldn’t. Technically, I can be said to have a mental illness. Sure. I can struggle with anger many times and have my own evil I struggle with, but I am not a mass murderer.

So why do we do this? Because I don’t think we want to face the fact that people really can do great evil and do it in their right minds. That’s hard on all of us. You want to know in reality who does have the potential to be the next mass shooter?

Every single one of us.

None of us is immune to evil. Sure, some are more likely than others, but if we look at who committed the greatest evils in the past, it’s been perfectly ordinary people. Consider the Milgram experiments. Perfectly ordinary people were willing to give someone what they thought was 450 volts.

Perfectly. Ordinary. People.

Think about that. You could say that wouldn’t be you, but isn’t that what most people who did this in the experiments would have said? Now you could say all of those were the ones with mental illness, but that would be begging the question.

I really suspect none of us want to face the evil that is within us. How many people have had to go to therapy suddenly because just one day, they uncovered something in their past and it gave them extremely strong emotions at the time that were difficult to handle? All of us who are ordinary people have been greatly hurt at some time in the past and have to deal with it.

Let’s suppose I meet two men in my work in ministry in the church. Both of them want to avoid getting into sexual sin. One says that he is really strong against pornography and won’t fall into it. The other one is worried sick that he will. I am more concerned about the former one. My thinking is that the moment you think you cannot give in to a sin, you are far closer to giving in to it than you think.

The media will continue to make race an issue, but as one on the spectrum, I want to deal with mental illness here instead. People who are mentally ill are not automatically evil. They, or rather we, need some help at times just like everyone else does. We have our struggles. We are your neighbors. We go to church with you, shop with you, play games with you, marry you, and go out to eat with you.

We’re not all mass shooters just like not all normal people aren’t mass shooters. However, we all of us alike have the capacity of great evil in us. Let’s all confront that together instead of just mentioning one group specifically.

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

Trust Can Be Hard

What do you do when it’s hard? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes, it’s really hard to be a faithful follower of Christ. Yesterday for me was one of those days. In the middle of playing a favorite online MMORPG, I had a number or rude comments made about my gaming ability that I can still remember. Normally, I would write those off fairly easily, but with other events going on in my life, it was partially Queen Jezebel’s sniper bullet to Elijah.

Fortunately, to help with that, a couple of good friends of mine assured me jerks exist everywhere even in the gaming community and they had encountered them as well. Most players are nicer than that, but sometimes a few bad apples spoil a bunch. I’m not talking about when friends get together and as friends play a game against each other and give friendly insults. I’m talking about real ones that take place.

Then as I go to bed last night, it was one of the hardest times I had getting to sleep in a long time. I’m still not sure how I did it. I found myself wrestling with various fears about my future, uncertainties, and temptations in the present. I look and wonder what my future really holds with so many what ifs. Already, I hear Gary Habermas now in my head telling me as he has before “What if it’s not?”

But trust can be hard sometimes. I use trust because I prefer that word to faith since I think trust is a better translation of faith. It’s really hard because I know through my own studies the goodness and love of God, and yet in my own life at the time, He doesn’t seem good and loving. My head knows he is, but when the anxiety is gripping you, that can be extremely hard to realize.

As I ponder it this morning, I wonder if sometimes our expectations can be too high. After all, a favorite prophecy of Jesus is Isaiah 53 where He is said to be a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, you can see in the Gospels the sadness of Jesus. Jesus is sorrowful over Jerusalem not repenting and weeps at the grave of Lazarus.

A passage I find most revealing is in the Garden before the crucifixion where Jesus is said to be overwhelmed with sorrow, even unto the point of death. That’s some intense sorrow. It’s not just Jesus. Paul himself had the sorrow as well. Consider Philippians 2:

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety.

This is a letter about joy, but I wonder how many times we just read through this section. Paul is talking about anxiety and having sorrow upon sorrow. How many times was Paul lying in a jail cell and wondering about the church that he loved? He was in a position of sorrow and yet had more sorrow possibly to come.

And he was in a jail cell. Talk about being in a place of uncertainty. Paul certainly knew what this was like. The same thing happens in 2 Corinthians 1. This is a passage that mentions comfort so many times. However, right in the middle, what do you see?

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

And this morning for my morning reading I read Joshua. Many of us know the common saying in Joshua 1. “Be strong and courageous.”

You don’t need to say that to someone who is feeling strong and courageous.

I can’t help but think too often in Christianity we often think we can’t be candid so much with our struggles. Now I am not sharing everything here because I do save many struggles for people I do know personally, but the struggles are real, which is even harder when you’re involved in apologetics and try to be a man of reason as much as possible.

As someone told me last night, it’s not that time heals the wounds you have. It doesn’t. You just get more used to the terrain so you can better navigate through it. Nothing will erase the past after all. All I can do is hope fore the future.

There will also always be suffering and something I can turn to for depression. In turn, if I can turn to it, there will always be something good. I was trying last night to be thankful for things, but it was honestly difficult. It was one of the first nights I had had like that in a long time. They happen every now and then.

Why say this? Because I also think it’s important for you to know that in many ways, I’m just like you. Too often leaders like to act like they have it all together and they really don’t. I can’t help but wonder if this could have contributed to the fall of Ravi Zacharias or anyone else.

This is also something the church needs to improve on. We can be so busy in wanting to hold up a persona that really, the church is one of the last places people who are hurting really want to go to. Consider this. Sinners and people suffering were not afraid to approach Jesus. If they are afraid to approach us, we are not being like Jesus.

So right now, things are hard and there are a lot of struggles, but I am determined to make it through matters. I am dealing with fears and temptations, but so is everyone. We can look at Jesus and how He faced it and said “But He’s the Son of God.” Sure, but Son of the same God that we serve. He is just as much working in us and for us.

In the meantime, I do appreciate any prayers and encouragement. Many of you have no idea how far it goes. Thank you for all you do for me and Deeper Waters.

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

Don’t Stop With A Question

Do some skeptics really want answers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Have you ever seen a meme like this?

Now I fully agree that reality is interesting and we should not be content with ignorance. Unfortunately, the idea is that religions treat questions as something hideous to encounter and science loves the questions. Also, if you are someone who is scientific, you will want to go and find out the answers.

Now never mind that something like this never defines science or religion, but I can’t expect a meme to do something like that. I do have something to say on the idea I see that leads me to think that many skeptics do not truly have a scientific mindset. Anyone can raise a question, but how many questions are raised that one goes out and seeks the answers?

For instance, let’s consider a question in science. Many readers of my blog know I take no stance on evolution. I do not argue for it and I do not argue against it. My interpretation of Scripture doesn’t change depending on the question or does any doctrine of Christianity I hold to.

Yet if I had one question, it would be this. In reproduction, the whole of the male and female systems are essential and have to work together in order to produce a new life. I really don’t know how it is that these could develop independently. I can understand how some body systems could perhaps be formed by gradual steps. This one I don’t see.

At the same time, I know I am not studied in the sciences and so I don’t use that as a reason to disavow evolution entirely and say it’s nonsense. Some I have interacted with who do hold to evolution have presented real research done on this question which I appreciate. I honestly haven’t had the chance to do any of that yet since not too much hangs on this question to me. Before I said yes or no entirely to evolution, I would need to spend a lot of time in study and really, I have other things I want to study more.

Yet it would be a problem if I raised the question and said, “I see no answer to this question and I am not bothering to do the research and I will decide without doing that.” However, I think too many people do this with religion, and not just Christianity, but any religion. Of course, my main emphasis is on Christianity, but if you are fair to any worldview, the same applies.

Every worldview is complex. You are talking about how all of reality works. There will be hard questions and no, not every answer can fit into the Twitter character limit. Some questions require longer and more in-depth answers.

This is not just the way it is for religious worldviews. Theists have a lot of hard questions for atheists and atheists being honest will admit that these are real questions that need real answers if their worldviews are going to hold. The same applies for Christianity and any theistic worldview.

Anyone can raise a question, but if someone raises a question and says that question is keeping them from that position and is not seeking an answer to that question, I have to wonder if it is really an honest question. One such example against Christianity is the problem of evil. I really consider this a more simplistic way to try to eliminate Christianity. However, it does appeal to emotions which can easily override reason.

For one thing, everyone has to answer this question. This is our world together and we all have to deal with it. A skeptic could say that’s just the byproduct of a world of chaos, but at that point, someone like G.K. Chesterton would ask how the problem of pleasure is dealt with. Why is there so much that is good in this world? For some reason, this is not usually considered a problem, but it is.

Not only do we have to deal with evil, somehow we have to ask if there is any hope. Now a skeptic could freely agree and say “I agree that Christianity can provide hope for those suffering in an afterdeath, but there’s no way to prove that.” Sure. There isn’t, but this is about consistency. Is the Christian answer coherent and can it provide hope? Yes. That doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does mean it is consistent. (And no, just because an answer involves God does not mean that it is incoherent)

Anyone can raise the objection, but go and read the best defenses of the problem of evil, people like Alvin Plantinga and Clay Jones. See what they have to say. Maybe you won’t be convinced, but you can at least know what they think.

In the same way, whatever your question is, try to read the best that you can of what you’re questioning. Contrary to what you may think, Christians at least have been asking questions of themselves. If you go and read some of the early church fathers or later thinkers like Aquinas and Augustine, you would be tempted to think they were answering questions we are asking today. You could even say we were sometimes answering questions that weren’t even being asked. I seriously doubt in Aquinas’s day some people were questioning if God even existed, but lo and behold, his five ways are still used today.

Again, anyone can ask a question. Going and getting an answer is something different. It may require work and time, but if you care about a truth like that enough to a central question, it should be worth it.

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

When Your Enemy Dies

How do you respond when your enemy dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember several years ago I was on the program PALtalk and the news had just broke that Saddam Hussein’s sons had just been found and killed. Someone messaged me saying “Isn’t this such great news?!” I told them it was great that they would no longer be inflicting evil on the Earth, but as a Christian, it was also sad because they passed into eternity without Christ forever.

Even earlier when I first started doing apologetics, I remember being in a chat room on AOL with several young-earth creationists (And in saying this I realize not all YECs are like this, thank God) when the news came that Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist had died. Immediately, there were people chatting about what it must be like for him in Hell right now. I remember also the same happening with some Reformed people (and again, thank God not all are like that), when a Pope had died and how he had “busted Hell wide open.”

I understand that for some people directly involved, it is good for them to know justice has been served, but many of us are not in that position. In the cases I described above, I found myself appalled at what I was saying. If you really think someone is in Hell, why should you celebrate? It’s not like you avoid it because you’re just so awesome.

So yesterday I finished listening to a book on my Amazon Tap and was playing a game where I couldn’t pause so I just switched to talk radio. Then I hear about the legacy of Rush Limbaugh. Legacy? That’s what you say when someone has died. I ask Alexa if that had happened and yes, that’s the news I get immediately.

Now as a conservative, I found the news saddening, but what didn’t surprise me was the images that I saw going on on Twitter after that. I have been just as appalled. You might want to make a statement about the character of your opponent, but those who celebrate in that matter are really revealing more about themselves.

What really amazes me is also that these are the people who often talk about being the people of love and compassion and tolerance and unity and being so opposed to any kind of hate. I would think that for all the time preaching this gospel, it might be practiced. It looks like it’s not really the case.

In a time like this also, we should also remember that eventually, death is going to come for all of us unless the return of Christ occurs first. Will we be ready? What are we doing with our lives right now?

If we’re Christians, we should definitely not be celebrating in this way. We should remember that this is a sign that our world is fallen. Also, keep in mind as much as you might not like it as a Christian, Rush Limbaugh and many others did say that they were Christians and if they were right, well, you get to spend eternity with them.

If you are hearing that and saying “I hope not! I don’t want to spend eternity with them!” then it is definitely you that has the problem. Eternity is to be where forgiveness and love definitely reign supreme. On a blog post I wrote years ago asking if your murderer will be in Heaven, someone in the comments said that right now in eternity, Stephen and Paul are together.

That’s really something to think about.

And yes, in eternity if forgiveness has taken place, people will be with those who murdered either them or their loved ones. Skeptics will be tempted to see that and think that that must be an awful place then. No. It’s a wonderful place because even something as horrendous as murder will be forgiven. We could also say if the criminal has repented, someone will be with their rapist, and there will be love and forgiveness.

All my secularist friends who believe in the goodness of man should be willing to see this as a good thing as well as man will be able to love someone who has hurt them so greatly. If you’re a Christian, realize that however you might not care about that person, you are called to love your enemy. You are called to want what is good for them.

During the Trump administration, if you had asked me who I wanted to meet if I got the chance to meet one famous person, I would have said Donald Trump. Some might say I’m a conservative so of course I would say that. Not so fast. I was asked that just recently and said still “The president” and when it was Obama in office, it was still “The president.” Why no matter who it was? Because I would want to go and talk to them about Jesus and let the message of Jesus impact them whoever it is, even if I thought that person was already a Christian.

To those celebrating, you’re revealing more about yourself and the people that you would hope to persuade are being given more reason to not listen to you. If this is the kind of person your side produces, then I want nothing of it. The side that produces those who love even their enemies is the one I wish to be on and I hope when my personal enemies die, that I will more respond the appropriate way as well.

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

Ravi and Atheism

What does it mean for theism when we have the fall of Ravi? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was part of the Mentionables Podcast where we talked about the whole Ravi situation. I wrote yesterday about the victims of Ravi Zacharias. Today, I would like to turn my attention to the arguments atheists are now putting forward about Ravi.

Let’s state this clearly. Ravi has no bearing on if Christianity is true or not. That rests solely on Jesus Christ and if He rose from the dead or not. All we can gather from Ravi is that those who call themselves Christians, and whether they are or not is not my judgment call to make, can be just as fallen as those they are preaching to.

Yet as soon as this happened, many atheists were sharing this as if this was a grand victory. I understand the desire, but keep in mind one way this is not a victory for anyone. There were real victims of what happened. Real people were hurt by Ravi. Let us never lose sight of them.

Many atheists have acted as if all of Christianity is responsible for this. Most of this sadly falls on what happened at RZIM. Even here, we don’t really know about who knew what and what they could have done otherwise. Without knowing the ins and outs of the organization, it’s hard to know what was going on and thus make a judgment call.

Most of us then had no power to do anything whatsoever in this situation. Not to mention there are plenty of Christians in other countries that could have even less to do with the situation. They are not responsible at all.

Now do atheists demonstrate that some Christians are hypocrites. Yes, to which, they don’t go far enough. All Christians are hypocrites. Nay. That’s not going far enough still. All human beings are hypocrites. The only exception would be the human being who has no moral standards whatsoever, and let’s face it, we don’t want to be around him anyway.

Ironically, many atheists when pulling this demonstrate that we all know that Christianity should produce a higher character. It has been said that hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue. When Christians fall short, that is supposed to demonstrate something about Christianity.

It doesn’t. It demonstrates something about Christians. It’s odd to imagine a philosophy where you judge the philosophy by how people don’t manage to live up to it. Consider it like abstinence. When people don’t live up to it, it’s considered a failed philosophy. What failed though is the unwillingness of the person to follow it and I know many people who practice abstinence and I definitely did up until marriage.

Now what about other positions? Are Christians and others inconsistent when we make statements about the violence in Islam or the destruction caused by atheists in atheistic societies? The difference here is what is being pointed out is the logical outworking of the position. In Islam, Muhammad himself engaged in the violent behavior and his followers immediately did that and there are passages in the Qur’an that lead to that interpretation.

As for atheism, it can be argued that if there is no God, all is permissible, as Dostoyevsky argued. Some atheists have acknowledged this as well. If this is the case, then why not go ahead and murder millions of your own people? Why not the Gulag? Why not the Killing Fields?

Keep in mind none of this is saying all atheists or Muslims are like this. It is not saying all of them are responsible for the evils in their belief system. Once 9/11 took place, that doesn’t mean every Muslim in America was responsible. One would need to show a certain Muslim knew about what was going on and then they would be responsible.

What Ravi did was horrible and honestly, if our critics are saying something about moral character, we all need to pay attention. However, this doesn’t demonstrate Christianity is false. Also in all of this, whatever our position, let us come together on the fact that the victims still need our support and we should seek to help them however we can.

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

To Ravi’s Victims

What do you say to those who have been abused? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s really hard to think about the idea of Ravi’s victims. Ravi was a man so many of us admired who seemed to have excellent character. Now we know it wasn’t so. There are some people who say Ravi has died twice. He died once on May 19, 2020, and he died again when we saw his reputation and who he was.

Last night, I took part in a discussion with the Mentionables on the Ravi situation. One message I made sure to give was one for the victims. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I want to give a similar sentiment and maybe go further here. I don’t know if anyone reading this is a victim of Ravi, but if were, this is for you.

First, I want to stress that I said you were a victim of Ravi. However, this is your life. It is up to you, but you can choose to live your life from this point on and even enjoy it. In the past, you let a wicked man have power over you. Any time you move past that, you are breaking the hold of power over you.

Second, this is not your fault. Even if you felt coerced and even if you didn’t really want to do whatever you did, there are many factors that go into that choice and you regret that choice today. The person who does the crime is always the one who is responsible. It is not you.

However, you need to know from now on this is your life. You never need to do something you don’t really want to do like that. An abuser is not entitled to your body. No one should use threats to get you to perform for them in any way whatsoever.

Please understand I am not saying that this is easy. It is not simply that you get up and say “I’m going to choose joy in my life” and it’s easy from then on. This will likely be a long and difficult journey, but you are worth it. You will need a very good therapist to work with you on this and it will be a long process as I said, but it is worth it. It is worth it because this is your life and that life is worth it.

Third, what happened to you had nothing to do with Jesus. Ravi will stand before Jesus Christ now to give an answer for what he did and there will be no partiality given. At the same time, I fully understand your hesitancy to consider Jesus Christ in light of what happened to you.

However, if Christianity is true, Jesus Christ does have a great love for you and a great promise of deliverance. Isn’t that worth considering? If it is true, isn’t that offering what you want? It’s okay to be skeptical and I invite your questions about this matter.

Please consider that there are several good Christians who are willing to come alongside you and help you. The huge majority of us don’t work at RZIM and even of those who do, how many were in a position to know what was going on or do something about it? We have no power there, but all of us have power as the church to do what we can to help someone who is suffering, including the victims of Ravi. Yes. RZIM needs to do all they can to help the victims since Ravi was the perpetrator, but we as the church need to do all we can to help them since we are the church and those who are victims are human beings Jesus loves and died for.

What happened to you is over, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your story. It doesn’t have to define you. You can rise above this. You do not have to be a victim. Victimhood does not have to define your life. Victory can.

May we all continuously pray for you.

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

Colonoscopy Thoughts

How did this weekend go and what thoughts did I have? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday there wasn’t a blog because I was having a procedure done, which from the title you can tell is a colonoscopy, and I was told to take it easy the rest of the day. My parents had come to be with me and handle driving and taking care of the apartment. The doctors telling me to take it easy said things that I normally do should be done like reading, watching TV, and playing video games.

You know, doctor’s advice can be so hard to follow! How did I put up with such cruel treatment?

That’s what I was doing yesterday. Right after, I wanted to get something to eat so we went to Subway together. Then we came home and it was a day of watching various TV shows together and sometimes I’d play games on my Switch there with me or my phone. My Dad and I found for a Christmas classic, MST3K with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

So what did I learn from this event?

First off, if you don’t know my age, I am 40 years old. Normally, this happens at 50. Back in May, my wife and I had got a pizza at the grocery store. After we shared it, I remember taking out the trash and not feeling well. I figured I just overdid it and it would pass and I would deal with it by just going to the bathroom.

Allie heard me screaming though in there and when I came out, my hair was so wet from sweating I suppose that if I had told her I had stuck my head in a running shower, she would not have been surprised. She told me I needed to go to the ER. I had no objections to that at all.

They did a Cat-scan (At least I think that’s what it was) of my stomach and I later met with a GI doctor. He informed me I had a polyp. It was about a centimeter long. I needed to get it out in six months or it could become cancerous. That would involve a colonoscopy.

This is one of those procedures I had long prayed to never ever have to go through. It’s just something disgusting for me to think about. Honestly, the prep for the procedure was more frightening to think about than the procedure itself.

So Thursday, the first day of prep came. I had nothing solid to eat that day and surprisingly, I handled it fine. However, in all fairness, I have sometimes forgotten to eat. I have had times where I have been out driving and stopped to get something because I realized that I forgot to get breakfast. If I get engrossed in something else, I lose sight of food easily.

I’m definitely an exception to the idea that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

But then came the time with taking the medication to clear me out. I had told Allie’s priest that I was praying the Jesus prayer over it. No. Not, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Instead it was, “If there be any other way, let this cup pass through me.” He laughed at that one. My former roommate told me as a hospital call screener that yes, it would certainly pass through.

I wasn’t wrong, the experience was awful and if I have to do it again, I’ve said I want a different procedure, I ended up having some vomiting both times over it, though fortunately not enough to stop the stuff from doing its work. Friday morning, I had to start at 4:45 again, so I got up at 4:15 to make sure I could do things like read the Bible and pray first.

So my Dad when the time came took me to the hospital. I remember them giving me this little gift bag that had in it some portable hand sanitizer, but it also had a little book of Sudokus and Crossword Puzzles and a pen. Okay. That’s enough to occupy me.

They wheeled me and talked to me about anesthesia. They gave me a medication that my father-in-law had told me was great stuff. I was told I would be out for an hour. I remember they had me lying on my left side and when they injected the stuff into the IV, I was immediately feeling woozy.

It’s really interesting to think how such medications work. Someone can do something like that to you and then do all manner of things to you and you can’t feel it. Having had scoliosis surgery before, it’s really incredible to think of what the body can go through.

Back in Knoxville, there was a time I had a dental procedure where they gave me the medication and the next thing I know, I was waking up in my bed. I posted on Facebook about if I saw anyone, please understand I wasn’t exactly myself. A girl I went to high school with said that that explained a lot because she saw me at Subway with my Mom (How did I order exactly?) and she said hi as I was heading out and I asked my Mom, “Do you know her?”

It’s kind of creepy to think you’re walking around appearing coherent when you’re not really there.

So anyway, I wake up maybe about an hour later and the doctor comes in to see me. I asked if they got the polyp and he says it turns out, there wasn’t one. I must have just had an infection that day.

It’s not pleasing to hear you went through something you didn’t want to go through with and had a fear about cancer and have it be wrong.

Still, I learned a lot about anxiety as well. Sometimes getting ready to take the medication here at home, I was so tempted to just pass it up. Maybe it would be easier to just get cancer and treat that. Anxiety can cause to do or not do many things.

Yet one thing I told myself was that in 24 hours, it would all be over. It was. The rest of the day was just fine with me doing my own thing and my Dad and I mainly spending the time together. All the anxiety and it hadn’t helped me prepare for the procedure at all. Maybe it even had something to do with the vomiting and it made it worse.

So anyway, for the time being, it looks like my health is fine. I have been told I should not have to have something like this done for ten more years. It’s my sincere hopes that technology will somehow improve in ten years so I won’t have to do this kind of operation again, but that’s not my area of focus.

Today, it’s still life goes on. I probably will still be taking it easy today and relaxing, especially since my folks are here. If you are a reader and were concerned about there not being a blog yesterday, that’s why. Next week I hope to return to a regular schedule.

For all who did know, thanks for the praying for me.

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

Book Plunge: God and the Pandemic

What do I think of N.T. Wright’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I really like reading N.T. Wright and I try to read anything by him that I can get my hands on. I was a bit hesitant about this one, however. After all, as much as I think Wright is wonderful on theology and history, I sometimes question his political approaches. Would I see more of that in here? Would I see approaches to blame the right or even the left or would I see a drastic push that we must have universal health care now?

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. There was a bit on universal health care at the end, but not much. If anything, Wright said something I have been saying for some time. Too often, the church has done work in an area, but we have been happy to let the government take it off of our hands. When plague spread through Rome before, it was the Christians who cared for the sick the most. Even the apostate emperor Julian said that Christians were better at caring for the poor and sick than the Roman Empire.

Wright also has a problem with people who try to see the hand in God in all of this. “Ah. A pandemic has come. Now people are ready to hear the message of Christianity.” Yes, some might be. Some might be more resistant actually and be willing to blame God for allowing it to happen or think that He directly caused it to happen.

In all of this, Wright has the right emphasis. He points us back to Jesus every time. If we are saying that now is the right time, then we are saying that the words of Jesus before were insufficient. Jesus told us what we must do. We are to go out there and do it.

In Acts 11, the church hears about a plague coming and immediately, the cry goes up that this is the perfect time to tell people about Jesus. Wait. You didn’t read that in the Bible? That’s right. They instead said “Who is going to be the most affected and what can we do to help them?” It might sound like just something practical, but that is what they did and that is the example left for us in Scripture.

Wright’s words are meant to give hope to those who are suffering wondering when it will end, but are also calling everyone else to go out there and be Jesus to the populace. With regard to churches opening up, there are both sides, although he does deal with a silly idea one parishioner has that the devil doesn’t know how to get in a church. He just tells her that as a bishop, he can assure her that the devil certainly does know how.

This is really classic Wright throughout the book, but the good thing is hopefully with it being about a pandemic, more people will read it and take it seriously. The church would be far better if more people were familiar with N.T. Wright. I may not agree with him on the political and practical questions surrounding Corona, but I certainly agree with him on the topic of Jesus.

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