The Confident Christian

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 10/3/12 at 6:29 PM | Robin Schumacher

Letter from a Former Atheist

What happens when an atheist is honest enough to recognize the reality of the atheist worldview and then decides to read God's Word to see what the Creator of the universe has to say and offer? Read through Farris Johnson of Clemson University's account and then pray such a thing will happen to many more who are currently like he was.

Although I was raised in the conservative Bible belt, by middle school I had left any "faith" I might have had behind. I gravitated from a very early age towards liberal politics and humanism. As a young high schooler I made the intellectual leap from agnosticism to atheism and continued on in my humanist pursuits by working for many political campaigns and non-profit organizations.

As an atheist, I realized my claims about God, immortality, and morality was rendering a certain meaninglessness over life - however this is certainly not how I lived. I lived for political and social projects, I used language like "progress" and "injustice" while simultaneously knowing that if I were pressed to provide a definition to such things, I couldn't give an honest answer for why I believed they existed or even what they meant. Life was lived in two realms: 1) I knew their was a meaninglessness, non-absolute, subjective, and as far as I knew, possibly incoherent habitat for my 'existence,' but 2) I put this knowledge in a box in order to proceed with my own personal meaning. I realized that essentially, I was using some Grand Lie which ascribed unintelligible significance to my relationships and passions and work. As unstoppable meaning-makers, I think a secular person's difficulty is in eventually accepting that any meaning they create is nothing more than a very serious game of make-believe. FULL POST

Posted 9/23/12 at 3:08 PM | Robin Schumacher

The Problems with Moral Relativism

Moral relativism is a philosophy that asserts there is no global, absolute moral law that applies to all people, for all time, and in all places. Instead of an objective moral law, it espouses a qualified view where morals are concerned, especially in the areas of individual moral practice where personal and situational encounters supposedly dictate the correct moral position.

Summing up the relative moral philosophy, Frederick Nietzsche wrote, “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, it does not exist.”[1] 

In modern times, the espousal of moral relativism has been closely linked to the theory of evolution. The argument is, in the same way that humanity has evolved from lesser to greater biological organisms, the same process is in play in the area of morals and ethics. Therefore, all that can be ascertained at present (and forever) is that there is no absolute or fixed certainty in the area of morality. FULL POST

Posted 9/18/12 at 7:35 AM | Robin Schumacher

Talking Snakes, Donkeys, and Believing the Bible

Skeptics of Christianity many times throw out statements like this in an attempt to dismiss both the Bible and the Christian faith: “Well, if I could believe in a talking snake, maybe then I’d take the Bible seriously.”

Can you believe what the Bible says about history, Jesus, and more when it has narratives that describe animals speaking like human beings? I think you can; let me explain why.

Taking the Bible Literally

I firmly believe that the correct way to interpret the Bible is to adhere to what is called the Literal-Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, which aims to discover the meaning of a particular passage as the original author would have intended and what the original hearers would have understood. As the first part of the name implies, this means a literal reading of the text.

Once a Christian affirms a literal interpretation of Scripture, immediately skeptics pounce and ask questions such as, “If that’s true, then Jesus must be a literal door, because he says in John 10:9: ‘I am the door’.” Unfortunately for the doubter, their argument is flawed in a couple of ways. First, it commits the logical fallacy of ‘reductio ad absurdum’, which seeks to establish an argument based on the supposed absurdity of its opponent's claims. FULL POST

Posted 9/14/12 at 5:06 AM | Robin Schumacher

Placating Ishmael

Back in February of this year, the unintentional destruction of a number of Qurans on an Afghan American military base had U. S. officials making multiple apologies to the Muslim country, including one coming directly from President Obama.[1] The apologies didn’t do any good because shortly afterwards a gunman wearing an Afghan National Army uniform murdered two U.S. troops over the incident.

The Taliban used that event to try and rally all Muslims to their cause and publicly stated: "We should attack their military bases, their military convoys, we should kill their soldiers, arrest their invading soldiers, beat them up and give a kind of lesson to them that they never dare to insult the holy Quran.”[2] 

The recent violent Islamic protests directed at U. S. embassies in Libya, Yemen, and Cairo over a crudely made movie about Muhammad, and the murder of U. S. ambassador Chris Stevens and others by what appears to be a calculated attack by Islamic terrorists underscore the fruit that radical Islam bears. This isn’t surprising as evil always craves justification and approval. When it thinks it finds both in a religion, it smiles broadly and believes it’s found no better home. FULL POST

Posted 9/12/12 at 7:41 AM | Robin Schumacher

Are Atheists Smarter than Christians?

A few years ago at the Crystal Clear Atheism convention, which was held in Northern Virginia, atheist Richard Dawkins was asked what the difference was between Christians and atheists. “Well, we’re bright,” said Dawkins.[1] The website and organization The Brights personify this thought.

Agreeing with Dawkins is comedian Bill Maher who said: "We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking . . . . I think religion is a neurological disorder . . . . I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality.”[2] 

Maher’s last point seemed to be somewhat echoed in a study published in the April 2012 edition of Science. According to the article “Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief”, exercising analytic thought supposedly erodes belief in God.[3]  FULL POST

Posted 8/25/12 at 2:43 PM | Robin Schumacher

A Few Reminders about Evolution from an Atheist

Although Dr. Thomas Nagel and I don’t see eye to eye on the matter of God’s existence, I appreciate the intellectual honesty that he displays in public. For example, when it comes to why he doesn’t believe in God, Nagel says: "I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope that there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that."[1] 

I appreciate that Dr. Nagel is willing to admit what many atheists aren’t – that there are a priori motivating factors that come into play where a belief system is concerned. Do Christians have such presuppositions (in the opposite direction, of course)? Certainly. But so do unbelievers, and it’s good to see one in that fold admit it. FULL POST

Posted 8/21/12 at 4:56 PM | Robin Schumacher

Should you be agnostic?

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist who was nicknamed “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his staunch support of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Huxley is also credited with coining the term “agnostic”. Following in his footsteps, his grandson Julian Huxley wrote the following about when a person should assume a position of agnosticism:

“I believe that one should be agnostic when belief one way or the other is mere idle speculation, incapable of verification; when belief is held merely to gratify desires, however deep-seated, and not because it is forced on us by evidence; and when belief may be taken by others to be more firmly grounded than it really is, and so come to encourage false hopes or wrong attitudes of mind.”[1] 

Huxley felt that, “All our life long we are oscillating between conviction and caution, faith and agnosticism, belief and suspension of belief.”[2]  FULL POST

Posted 8/16/12 at 8:09 PM | Robin Schumacher

What don't you like about Jesus?

Oftentimes when I engage unbelievers in dialog, it’s common to hear a litany of complaints about the Church, the hypocrisy of Christian’s behavior, and so on, with some of the criticisms being valid and others being without merit. However, because Christianity isn’t based on those things, but rather a Person, I do my best to bring them back to Jesus and have them focus on Him instead. A question I typically ask to do this is, “I hear what you’re saying, but let’s talk about Jesus for a minute. Tell me, what don’t you like about Him?”

The vast majority of the time there will be a very pregnant pause in the conversation, and for good reason. When Jesus was illegally put on trial by His enemies, Mark tells us: “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any” (Mark 14:55). Christ’s enemies had literally dogged His every step, sent false disciples to try and trick Him into some verbal gaffe, and yet at the end there was absolutely no dirt they could drudge up against Him. FULL POST

Posted 8/11/12 at 12:24 PM | Robin Schumacher

What is Atheism?

A survey recently released by WIN-Gallup International appears to show atheism on the rise in various countries. Although some of the wording used in the survey has been questioned (e.g. “religious” vs. “spiritual”), the research shows nearly a 10% increase in those labeling themselves as a “convinced atheist”.

This being the case, it’s good to revisit exactly what atheism is and the claims that it makes.

Getting Started

Atheism is a belief / worldview that denies the existence of any supernatural deity. Shaftesbury says: “To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of things, but Chance . . . is to be a perfect atheist.”

Broken down, “A” (no) “theism” (god), means simply “no god(s)”. Although the word itself and its meaning is certainly straightforward, there are a wide range of philosophical complications and issues that must be addressed, and clarifications that need to be made where atheism is concerned. FULL POST

Posted 8/5/12 at 8:16 PM | Robin Schumacher

Hate Speech or Truthful Talk?

Jesus was on a roll.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matt. 23:13).

Addressing his primary antagonists, the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus built their unflattering profile at the beginning of Matthew 23 and then hammered them eight different times repetitively calling them hypocrites (vv. 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29), blind (vv. 16, 17, 19, 24. 26), fools (vs. 17), lawless (vs. 28), and ending with this grand finale:

“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matt. 23:33).

You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in theology or doctorate in Jewish studies to figure out that pious Jews don’t take well to being symbolically linked to the animal most associated with the devil. But that didn’t stop Jesus from telling them that’s who they were like. FULL POST

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