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Den of Lambs

Christian Defense of the Faith

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Christian Evidence

Is Life Meaningless Without God?

“As St. Anselm saw, God is by definition the greatest conceivable being and therefore the highest Good.  Indeed, He is not merely perfectly good; He is the locus and paradigm of moral value.  God’s own holy and loving nature supplies the absolute standard against which all actions are measured.  He is by nature loving, generous, faithful, kind, and so forth.” – William Lane Craig, (Opening statement from his debate with Sam Harris)
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecc 2:11
The writer of Ecclesiastes looked over his accomplishments; the effort, toil, and work, and what was his appraisal?: that everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained.
CrossFor millenia, man has looked for the meaning of his existence. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to stand on a stage and sing my songs for thousands of people. I wanted all of the notoriety and riches that came with it. Was that my meaning or purpose? Or was that just a goal. Your goal in life can be hitting 40 home runs in the major leagues or it can be having the beautiful wife or success in your career. But, I believe, meaning or purpose in life is having a loving relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Therefore, if there is no God, then there is no true or objective meaning in life. Philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus have argued that if God does not exist then life is absurd. But instead of using this as an argument for the existence of God, what do the conclude? That life really is absurd.

The absurdity of life without God may not prove that God exists, but it does show that the question of God’s existence is the most important question a person seeking meaning can ask.

How Would The Gospels Fare In The Courtroom?

Lawyers are in the evidence business.  Claims are a dime a dozen and you don’t have to be a lawyer to know that making a claim isn’t the same as proving a case.  The significance in the fact that so many great lawyers, judges, and legal scholars are Christians, cannot be overlooked (see here, here, and here.)

CourtroomAs pertinent evidence for a Christian worldview, the Gospel testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth must be admitted in the court of public opinion.  Even more importantly, the veracity and historicity of these ancient documents would be admitted as evidence in any common court of law.  These writings assert that they are first-hand accounts of testimony to Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1)  or are a product of meticulous research concerning him (Luke 1:1-4.)  Try as they might, skeptics have not been able to impugn the credibility of the Gospels.

Early dating and the criteria of authenticity reinforces the credibility of these documents. Firstly, Jesus was crucified by 30-33 AD, and by the end of the 1st century we have four full independent accounts (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) on Jesus based on early traditions that were circulating in different very early Palestinian Christian communities. Sources that date 40 – 60 years after the described events are very early by historical comparison, on this theme Mike Licona, a prominent New Testament historian, comments:

“A gap of sixty to seventy years between the writing and the events they purport to describe is quite early compared to what historians work with when it comes to other ancient biographies.” (Answering Brian Flemmings “The God Who wasn’t there.”) [1]

Secondly, according to the criteria of authenticity, William Lane Craig argues:

What these “criteria” really amount to are statements about the effect of certain kinds of evidence upon the probability of various sayings or events in Jesus’ life. For some recorded saying or event S, evidence of a certain type E, and our background information B, the “criteria” would state that, all things being equal, Pr (S|E&B) > Pr (S|B). In other words, all else being equal, the probability of some event or saying is greater given, for example, its multiple attestation than it would have been without it.

What are some of the factors that might serve the role of E in increasing the probability of some saying or event S? The following are some of the most important:

(1) Historical congruence: S fits in with known historical facts concerning the context in which S is said to have occurred.
(2) Independent, early attestation: S appears in multiple sources which are near to the time at which S is alleged to have occurred and which depend neither upon one another nor upon a common source.
(3) Embarrassment: S is awkward or counter-productive for the persons who serve as the source of information for S.
(4) Dissimilarity: S is unlike antecedent Jewish thought-forms and/or unlike subsequent Christian thought-forms.
(5) Semitisms: Traces in the narrative of Aramaic or Hebraic linguistic forms.
(6) Coherence: S is consistent with already established facts about Jesus. [2]

So, what would the greatest common-law authority on the law of evidence in the nineteenth century say? “All that Christianity asks of men on this subject is [that the testimony of the Gospels] be sifted as it were given in a court of justice….The probability of the veracity of the witnesses and of the reality of the occurrences which they relate will increase, until it acquires, for all practical purposes, the value and force of demonstration.” – Harvard professor Simon Greenleaf [3]

[1] James Bishop, Historical Jesus Studies, 1-24-15, accessed 8-16-15

[2] William Lane Craig, reasonablefaith.org, Gospel Authorship-Who Cares?, accessed 8-16-15

[3]Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists, accessed 8-16-15

Evidence And The Christian Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

Christians often have a mistaken definition of “faith”. Christians often think of faith as an act of believing in things that have no evidential basis, because faith is often described as believing in things that cannot be seen. The Biblical view of faith is NOT believing in something in spite of the evidence or believing in something when there is no evidence to support a belief!

CourtroomIt is true that God is a Spirit and cannot be seen, but it is not true that there is no evidence to support the existence of the unseen God. Let’s examine the Biblical view of faith:

We must use our minds
God tells us to love Him with more than our heart, soul, and strength. In order to fully love God, we are to love Him with all of our mind. (Luke 10:27).

We must understand the value of evidence
God has given us a number of good evidential reasons to believe that He exists and that Jesus is who He says He is. We are not called to have blind faith, but to have a well reasoned, evidential faith (Acts 1:2-3, Acts 17:2-3, Acts 17:30-31).

We must examine our beliefs
We’re not instructed to blindly trust everything that might be taught in our world today, even if a Christian teacher is the source! We’re expected to be critical, skeptical, and thoughtful (Acts 17:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, 1 John 4:1)

We must be convinced of what we believe
God wants us to have reasons for our faith based on evidence that can be articulated to others who may have doubts (Romans 14:5, 2 Timothy 1:8-12, 2 Timothy 3:14).

We are called to defend our beliefs
Once we have examined the evidence and have come to the conclusion that Christianity is true, we are called to be ready to make a strong defense for what we believe (1 Peter 3:15).

The life of a Christian must be rooted and grounded in the evidence of the Resurrection, truth of the Bible, and truth in God’s creation. We are saved by placing our trust in Jesus, and become a powerful force in our world when we commit ourselves to being defenders of what we believe. When we, as Christians, argue for the truth of the Christian Worldview, we are not sharing an opinion. God exists, or He does not. Jesus is that God, or He is not. Salvation comes through Christ alone, or it does not. As Dr. William Lane Craig says, “Christianity is not just another option in a sea of options, none commending itself as the truth about reality.”

We can be “defenders” precisely because the Christian faith is an evidential faith.

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