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Posted 10/5/14 at 10:14 AM | Robin Schumacher
In a recent exchange with a Spanish journalist, physicist Stephen Hawking affirmed again that he was an atheist and asserted that a supernatural Creator is not necessary to answer the foundational philosophical question posed long ago by philosopher/mathematician Gottfried Leibniz: “why do we have something rather than nothing?”
There is no doubt that Hawking’s intellect exceeds the vast majority on this planet (including mine) and that his professional achievements are astounding, especially given his physical handicap, and deserve high respect. But when he argues against the existence of God, I’m rather surprised at his core arguments, which can be found in various works such as The Grand Design. FULL POST
Posted 9/23/14 at 8:30 PM | Robin Schumacher
It seems like most everyone we know right now is going through some sort of painful trial. Many are hurting with medical problems, but others are wrestling with relationship or financial issues, while still others are struggling with parenting difficulties.
As someone said a long time ago, most everyone on the planet is either just entering a trial, in the midst of one, or coming out of a period of suffering.
While most skeptics and atheists continue to rely on the problem of evil/suffering as their number one weapon against the idea of an all-good and powerful God, there is a small but growing trend in unbelievers acknowledging the argument’s bankruptcy. As philosopher Peter Van Inwagen notes, "It used to be widely held that evil was incompatible with the existence of God: that no possible world contained both God and evil. So far as I am able tell, this thesis is no longer defended." FULL POST
Posted 9/7/14 at 5:43 PM | Robin Schumacher
An article in Christianpost summarized a recent Liturgists podcast where Christian music artist Michael Gungor, along with Mike McHargue and Lissa Paino, discussed the book of Genesis and Jesus’ specific knowledge of history, creation and the world. Gungor suggested Jesus was either wrong about the Biblical creation account and the existence of certain persons Scripture portrays as historical (e.g. Adam, Noah) or that Christ deliberately accommodated Himself to the beliefs of the first century people to fit in and in essence chose not to be truthful about those topics.
How should Christians address these assertions? In my view, there are three key topics that, when properly understood, help us reach a reasonable conclusion on the claims made by Gungor and McHargue. FULL POST
Posted 9/1/14 at 8:17 PM | Robin Schumacher
Despite the best effort of critics to challenge the authorship and re-date the Old Testament book of Daniel to something written after the events that were prophesied in the book, the conclusion of one of the most careful and educated theologians I’ve ever known – Dr. Thomas Howe – says in his 700+ page commentary on Daniel: “There has not been an argument that has offered a reasonable alternative to the traditional view that Daniel, of the 6th century BC, is the author of this book.”
It’s no wonder that skeptics want to challenge the book of Daniel. Its astonishingly accurate prophesies about the rise of various empires and political leaders such as Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes are enough to give a heart attack to anyone who attempts to rest comfortably in their anti-supernatural worldview. If there is a book in the Bible that more than stands up to the poorly thought out atheistic challenge of, ‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’, it’s Daniel. FULL POST
Posted 8/13/14 at 7:36 AM | Robin Schumacher
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).
The Apostle John warned his readers about antichrists four times in his epistles. There is little doubt that John saw general antichrist figures as those who were false teachers and fake believers; those who ultimately deny that Jesus came in the flesh as the Messiah. In one way or another each ultimately opposes and rejects Christ.
But John also clearly saw a final individual Antichrist whose spirit “is already in the world” (1 John 4:3).
The term “anti” in the Greek can mean both “against” and “in place of”. When you look down through history and right up to our present time / culture, and also through Scripture, you see both definitions of the Antichrist’s spirit prominently on display.
A look back at history demonstrates two things concerning Antichrist: (1) the world has been and is still being prepared for his entrance, acceptance, and worship; (2) types of Antichrist have appeared numerous times, each of which have given glimpses of what the final Antichrist monstrosity will be like. FULL POST
Posted 8/3/14 at 3:57 PM | Robin Schumacher
In a recent Christianpost article, Dr. William Lane Craig made a number of comments concerning the upcoming Left Behind movie and its central theme of the rapture. Craig denied the Biblical concept of a pre-tribulation rapture (one that occurs before God’s wrath is poured out on the world in the End Times) as depicted in the movie and likened it to fiction along the same lines as Lord of the Rings.
Let me first say I have tremendous admiration and respect for Dr. Craig. He is truly one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith today, has tirelessly and courageously debated (and defeated) the world’s top atheists and skeptics in very hostile environments, and has always done so in a respectful and gentlemanly manner. I have learned a great many things from his debates, books and articles, have supported his ministry financially, and encourage everyone reading these words to do likewise. We need more men like Dr. Craig today. FULL POST
Posted 7/30/14 at 5:33 PM | Robin Schumacher
In Part 1 of this post, we reviewed recent examples of Islamic-inspired violence (see another example of that here), looked at statements made in Quran and hadith material that appeared to prescribe violence, and proposed a couple of questions that help understand what any religion or worldview really teaches:
What happens when we apply our two questions above to Islam? In short, it’s difficult to do and former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi tells us why. FULL POST
Posted 7/27/14 at 5:29 PM | Robin Schumacher
Current news headlines are filled with examples of Islamic-inspired violence and terror, with CNN recently reporting that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed 270 in an attack in central Syria. Moreover, ISIS is also moving through Iraq with a “convert or die” campaign, which is forcing Christians and other faiths to flee their homes.
Hamas openly continues to pursue their goal, which is the extinction of the Jewish people.
In addition, the world community raised its voice a few months ago to protest Sudan’s death sentence on Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman who refused to renounce her faith and convert to Islam. Though she suffered many hardships, thankfully she has recently become free, unlike many of the 200+ girls kidnapped by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram (whose name means “Western or non-Islamic education is a sin”). FULL POST
Posted 7/15/14 at 8:11 PM | Robin Schumacher
I got an email from a friend the other day asking me if I’d seen a blog post by the daughter of a prominent Christian leader who has renounced her Christian faith and now claims to be an atheist. While I do remember hearing about it, I hadn’t read the full description of the account.
Pastors and Christians in general oftentimes wrestle with the question of why some people who profess to be believers walk away from the faith. Some of them depart from Christianity in just a short period of time while others take much longer to leave their supposed convictions by the side of the road. But regardless of how long it takes, when you read stories like the one my friend forwarded to me, the theological reason as to why they do becomes quite clear.
Simply put, it’s what they want to do.
Don’t misunderstand that minimal statement; there’s actually quite a lot of theology packed in there. FULL POST
Posted 7/6/14 at 5:10 PM | Robin Schumacher
For all Christians, the New Testament is cherished, trusted, and rightly viewed as the Word of God. The 27 books of the New Testament are combined with the 39 books of the Old and stand as a work that is the #1 bestselling book of all time, even becoming the bestseller for 2013 in very secular countries like Norway.
But there’s something that used to bother me about the New Testament, even into my Master’s and Ph.D. studies in seminary. The issue wasn’t one of the usual and customary criticisms about the New Testament that skeptics present; those can be fielded without much bother at all.
Rather, the question that floated into and out of my mind can be summed up this way: Why should we consider the New Testament on par with the Old Testament where Scripture is concerned?
While this may seem like a strange question for a Christian to ask at first, stop for a moment and think about something. There’s little question that Judaism considered the Old Testament to be God’s Word and that statements made by Jesus and others in the New Testament affirmed such a position: FULL POST