googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: September 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ten Lies Evolutionists Tell: Part 4

7) People who believe creation don't understand science

I routinely hear evolutionists saying that people who believe in creation don't understand science. For example, in a NY Times Interview, Bill Nye made the following comments:

If we have a society that’s increasingly dependent on these technologies, with a smaller and smaller fraction of that society who actually understands how any of it works, that is a formula for disaster.... My biggest concern about creationist kids is that they’re compelled to suppress their common sense, to suppress their critical thinking skills at a time in human history when we need them more than ever.

There are several things wrong with statements like this. First, it's a tangle of logical fallacies. Let's see... it's non sequitur in the sense that there's no link between believing creation and understanding technology. What, I can't use a computer because I'm a creationist? It's also an example of a No True Scotsman argument because it invents a qualifier for understanding science – that is, “everyone who truly understands science believes evolution.” Finally, it's an appeal to consequences; even if people who believe creation don't understand science, that's not evidence against a miraculous creation.

Next, Bill Nye – nor anyone else to my knowledge – has ever provided some scientific survey to demonstrate that a belief in creation affects a person's ability to understand science. If somebody knows of such a survey, I would love to see it because, to this day, I've seen nothing – not one thing – that evolutionists can point to that supports their assertion. It is nothing more than a tactic, an insult meant to ridicule creationists and scare us into thinking we are doomed unless people believe in evolution. On the contrary, I've written before that on standardized tests, students who attend private schools or are home-schooled, places where creation is more likely to be taught, tend to outperform students who attend public schools, where evolution is more likely to be taught.  By the way, I attended public schools and was taught evolution.  I believed it for many years.  Most people in the US attended public schools.  I would say that most of the people who believe creation sat in the same classrooms as most evolutionists  and so would understand science at least as well as the people who believe evolution.

If you're interested in anecdotal evidence, I could provide quotes from people like Newton, Mendel, or Kepler that show they believed in a Divine Creator. I could talk about Dr. Ben Carson whose achievements include, “performing the first and only successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head, pioneering the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins, developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors and reviving hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures” (not bad for someone who doesn't understand science). I could mention that Dr. Raymond Vahan Damadian, the guy who invented the MRI, is a creationist, too. But I'm not saying that creation is true because people like Newton believed in a Creator. I'm saying that their belief in a Creator did not affect their ability to make contributions to science or invent life improving technologies.

On the other hand, I would ask Nye for an example of how believing in evolution has contributed to science in any way. Name one invention in the last century that was born out of a belief in evolution. Evolution is the trivial pursuit branch of science.

8) Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

In a 1973 essay, biologist and evolution-apologist, Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Really, Dobzhansky? Nothing? Normally, I could dismiss this as a simple use of hyperbole but I've heard this quote cited many times by many people and, yes, they really mean, nothing. From the same Wiki article linked above, there is this quote:

The underlying theme of the essay is the need to teach biological evolution in the context of debate about creation and evolution in public education in the United States. The fact that evolution occurs explains the interrelatedness of the various facts of biology, and so makes biology make sense. The concept has become firmly established as a unifying idea in biology education.

Just think about the absurdity of saying nothing in biology makes sense except for evolution. What are some things we include in the science of biology? How about reproduction? Do they mean to say we can't understand anything about reproduction unless we understand evolution?! It was Prissy in Gone With the Wind who said, Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies. I guess that's what evolutionist think about creationists. They want us to believe that reproduction equals evolution – end of story. What other things are under the umbrella of biology? There's animal migration. Does migration make no sense except that they evolved? Please explain that to me. We can't grow crops, study medicine, or understand anything about living things unless evolution is true? Please!

Evolutionists are so convinced of their theory that they can no longer see the evidence except through the lens of their theory. Perhaps to them, evolution explains the evidence but other people didn't need any understanding of evolution to study biology. Evolutionists, for example, believe animals share traits because they are related. Carolus Linnaeus, however, developed taxonomy more than a century before Darwin published Origin. When you think about it, nearly every field in biology was founded by people who didn't need to understand evolution to do their work – people like Mendel or Pasteur. Edward Blythe wrote about natural selection decades before Darwin published Origin.

Dr. Jerry Bergman published an article on True Origins dealing with this same subject. Consider this interesting excerpt from that article:

National Academy of Science Member and renown carbene chemist, Professor emeritus Dr. Philip Skell of Pennsylvania State University,... did a survey of his colleagues that were “engaged in non-historical biology research, related to their ongoing research projects.” He found that the “Darwinist researchers” he interviewed, in answer to the question, “Would you have done the work any differently if you believed Darwin's theory was wrong?” that “for the large number” of persons he questioned, “differing only in the amount of hemming and hawing” was “in my work it would have made no difference.”

Like I've said above and numerous times in the past, evolution is the trivial pursuit branch of science. It's a theory that makes no useful predictions and has led to no life improving discoveries. It's something that is hashed out in peer reviewed journals yet has no practical application in the real world. Biology would work – indeed, it does work – just fine without evolution. Molecules to man evolution isn't even real. How can it be fundamental to anything?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ten Lies Evolutionists Tell: Part 3

5) There is no evidence for creationism

I'm sure you've heard, on many occasions, evolutionists say, “There is no evidence for creationism.” First, I think it's hilarious that they routinely use the word “creationism” incorrectly. Words ending in “ism” describe world views or philosophies – like “atheism.” “Creationism” is the belief that God created the universe miraculously. Obviously, there are people who believe this – me being one – so “creationism” is real. Attention all evolutionists: what you mean to say is, “There is no evidence for a miraculous creation.” You're welcome. However, even to say, “there is no evidence for creation,” while grammatically correct, is still a lie. Let me explain why,

I read an analogy once that really nailed this point. People used to believe the sun moved around the earth, a belief called, geocentricism. Obviously we can't feel the earth moving and we can see the sun moving across the sky so the theory of geocentricism seemed to explain the evidence very well. There were a few things, though, like the retrograde motion of planets, that geocentricism didn't explain so we kept searching for answers. Over time, we began to see that the earth orbits the sun, a theory called heliocentricism. This new theory seems to be a better explanation of our observations, including the apparent motion of planets. Yet in all this time, though our theory may have changed, the evidence is still the same. We still can't feel the earth moving and the sun still appears to travel across the sky.

You see, there is only one universe. There is only one fossil record, only one geological column, only one earth, etc. These things are the “evidence.” The evidence isn't for any theory. Evidence merely exists and we develop theories in attempts to explain why things are the way they are. So the evidence “for” evolution is the same evidence “for” creation.

A good theory should explain all the evidence but there are still some things one theory or the other doesn't seem to explain well. That's why we keep studying – not to find evidence for our theories but to find a better explanation for the evidence. The evidence itself doesn't care about our theories.

6) 99.9% of all the species that have ever lived are extinct

On, we see one Christian struggling with this question:

I recently took a friend’s three-year-old son to the Natural History Museum in London. We stood together in awe in the hall of dinosaurs, wondering at the beauty, strength and majesty of the long-departed creatures. I questioned how a good God could let such magnificent creatures as the iguanodon or the allosaurus simply fade from the earth. My question could extend well beyond dinosaurs: about 99 percent of all species that have ever lived are now extinct.

I've heard this statistic quoted so many times that I assumed there must be some truth to it. It's a lie. What makes it an especially grievous lie is that this Christian believed it and felt compelled to engage in mental gymnastics to explain why a “good” God would create everything through such a wasteful, slow, and cruel process like evolution.

Wikipedia estimates there have been 5 billion species. Scientists have identified only around 1.2 million living species. Some people speculate there may be another 10 million species still undiscovered. Maybe there are, it doesn't make much of a difference. There are also around 500,000 species that are known only from fossils. Again, maybe there are more but it's surely only a few million more. That totals only 1.7 million of species known to exist and maybe 10-15 million not discovered.

If we have identified only 1.7 million species, where is the evidence for the other alleged 4.99 billion species? There are no fossils at all for more than 99% of the species evolutionists claim have existed. None!! The statistic is entirely invented.

How did they get such a high estimate? It all has to do with their assumptions – primarily their assumptions about the age of the earth. It works sort of like this: if life began 1 billion years ago, and if the average species only appears during 5 million years in the geological record, then all species have been replaced around 200 times. If there are 10,000,000 identified species (an inflated number to begin with), that means there must have been 2 billion total species that have lived! Get it?

Their vastly inflated estimate of the number of species is merely the consequence of assuming an ancient earth which virtually demands countless generations to fill all those millinea. If the earth is young, then most of the species that ever lived are still alive! What we actually observe, aka – the evidence, is better explained by a recent, miraculous creation. The 99.9% estimate of extinct species is a lie.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ten Lies Evolutionists Tell: Part 2

3) Microevolution plus time equals macroevolution

We don't see dinosaurs turning into birds or any similar kind of change. We do, however, see little changes like in the size of bird beaks. The lie told by evolutionists is that the little changes we observe can accumulate over millions of years to become big changes – the kind of changes that could turn apes into men.

The most famous example of evolution published in school textbooks is the peppered moth. I won't detail the whole study but here's the gist: peppered moths can be either light or dark colored. As the moths were studied over time, it was noticed that the ratio of light to dark moths changed. It was determined that birds would tend to eat mostly dark or mostly light depending on changes in the environment. Since the frequency of dark moths changed over time, it fits the technical definition of evolution. If this trend continued for millions of years, evolutionists believe this kind of change – that is, birds eating one shade of moth – can turn the moth into something that's not a moth. Incredible!

For evolution to happen, animals have to acquire traits. To turn a dinosaur into a bird, for example, you would have to add feathers. To turn a molecule into a man, you would have to add bones, blood, skin, eyes, hair, heart, lungs, and a million other things. It's not enough that molecules might just “change”; they would have to acquire new features generation after generation in order to “evolve.” Get it? So, let me ask you: how long would birds have to eat one color of moth before new colors are added to the moth population? A hundred years? A million years? Obviously you can't add colors by continuously removing colors – no mater how long it happens!

Consider this quote from, “Critics have pointed out that the "peppered moth story" showed only microevolution, rather than the important macroevolutionary trend of speciation. Biologists agree with this point, and accept that correlation between soot on tree trunks and observed melanism in the moths is not proof of the theory of evolution as a whole. However, many do not accept the supposed distinction between "microevolution" and "macroevolution" as being part of the modern evolutionary synthesis which equates the two, instead taking the view that the mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution are the same, the only difference being of time and scale.”

In their own words, many biologists equate little changes (micro-) and the big changes (macro-). The only difference to them is how long it continues - “time and scale.” They give no consideration to the kind of change. To them, evolution means change – things change – therefore, things evolve.

If you want to convince me that evolution is possible, show me examples of animals acquiring novel features. Don't show me examples of animals losing traits (natural selection) and say, “just give it some time.” It's a lie.

4) Evolution is just a theory – like gravity!

Sometimes, creationists will attempt to diminish evolution by saying, “It's just a theory.” Here's an example of how some evolutionists answer that:

Evolution is still all too often (but wrongly) downplayed as "just a theory" in public discussions. This is partly due to an unfortunate misunderstanding of what a theory means in science, as opposed to its common language meaning. Evolution by natural selection is much more than just a hypothesis, and is as much a valid and well-accepted scientific theory as the theory of gravitation.

Now, I admit that calling evolution a “theory” is a weak criticism. However, I believe it's usually said out of ignorance. The response, on the other hand, is a deliberate lie. The lie rests in the obvious intent to conflate the phenomenon of gravity with the theory of gravity as though they're the same thing. Here is another response where this is a little more blatant:

In the debate between religion and science a common argument is that the theory of evolution, or the Big Bang theory, or some other scientific theory is "just a theory".... This argument shows a very common misconception about science that needs to be cleared up. Science never proves anything. Ever. Let me repeat that with different emphasis: Science never proves anything. For instance, gravity is "just a theory". Like evolution it cannot be proved correct. [bold and italics in original]

What does this person mean by “gravity” cannot be proven correct? The statement doesn't even make sense. It's like saying, “a pencil cannot be proven correct.” Gravity is a thing. We have a theory that describes how it behaves. Our theory may not be entirely correct but there is no doubt that there is the thing.

But the theory of evolution is no where near on par with the theory of gravity. We're not sure what gravity is but we are very successful in predicting how it behaves. We can measure it's force very precisely. We can calculate exactly how planets will move. We can use our theory of gravity to make predictions; before we went to the moon, for example, we could calculate how much an astronaut would “weigh” on the moon.

We're a little more fuzzy on the details of evolution. In short, scientists still aren't sure when, where, or how things evolved. They're constantly rearranging animals on the so-called, “tree of life.” Nearly every day, a new discovery is made that overturns things they were once “sure” about. Evolution also makes NO predictions (I think I'll include this as one of the ten lies – stay tuned). We certainly can't predict where evolution is leading.

Evolution is a theory and a “scientific theory” isn't the same as an unsubstantiated guess. I get it. But please stop lying and saying evolution is like gravity!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ten Lies Evolutionists Tell: Part 1

Several years ago, I wrote a post called, Five Lies Evolutionists Tell. I still reference it from time to time but since then, I've added a few more lies to the list. I thought it might be a good idea to put all the various lies together in a short series called, Ten Lies Evolutionists Tell. I'll include 2-3 in every post. Keep in mind that, when I say, “lies,” I mean things that are demonstrably untrue, not merely that I disagree with them.

As usual, I'm going to avoid calling this a “Top 10” list because I'm not convinced these are truly the most spoken lies, though I'm certain they rank highly. You've probably heard a couple of these yourself. I was also a little torn as to which 10 to include because there are others. Perhaps when I'm done with these ten, I'll write a short conclusion and include some of the honorable mentions.

Let's get started. Here, in no particular order, are ten lies routinely told by evolutionists.

1) A single fossil found out of order could disprove evolution

Richard Dawkins once wrote, Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours. Here's a little exercise: Google the phrase, “fossil redraws evolution” and see how many hits you find. Seriously. Do it! The simple fact of the matter is that scientists routinely find fossils in places that force them to reconsider where and when something evolved. They never chuck their theory because of it. Instead, they publish headlines like, “Fossil Shows Ants Evolved Much Earlier Than Thought.

In spite of Dawkin's claim, other evolutionists admit that even grossly out of order fossils wouldn't disprove evolution. Look at this quote from Wiki:

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins said that the discovery of fossil mammals in Precambrian rocks would "completely blow evolution out of the water." Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith doubted that a single set of anachronistic fossils, however, even rabbits in the Precambrian, would disprove the theory of evolution outright. The first question raised by the assertion of such a discovery would be whether the alleged "Precambrian rabbits" really were fossilized rabbits. Alternative interpretations might include incorrect identification of the "fossils", incorrect dating of the rocks, and a hoax such as the Piltdown Man was shown to be. Even if the "Precambrian rabbits" turned out to be genuine, they would not instantly refute the theory of evolution, because that theory is a large package of ideas.

Do you see what I mean? Even a rabbit found in the Precambrian wouldn't disprove evolution. Dawkins is merely posturing in order to make evolution seem like a robust theory that is tested every time a new fossil is found. He doesn't really believe it. That makes his quote a lie.

2) Human and chimp DNA are 98% similar

From the American Museum of Natural History website, we find this lie: The chimpanzee and another ape, the bonobo, are humans' closest living relatives. These three species look alike in many ways, both in body and behavior. But for a clear understanding of how closely they are related, scientists compare their DNA, an essential molecule that's the instruction manual for building each species. Humans and chimps share a surprising 98.8 percent of their DNA.... Human and chimp DNA is so similar because the two species are so closely related. Humans, chimps and bonobos descended from a single ancestor species that lived six or seven million years ago.

Since I was in high school more than 30 years ago, I've heard that human and chimp DNA is 98% similar. Actually, I've heard estimates ranging from 95-99% but it's always cited in a way to give the impression that the similarity is “proof” of our relatedness to chimps. Since DNA is something we can study in the present, I'd always assumed the similarity was there. It was only a few years ago that I learned this amazing similarity was a lie.

The first thing you have to consider is that chimp DNA is 8-10% longer than human DNA. Here is a quote from Anthropology: The Human Challenge:

Moreover, the genetic comparison is misleading because it ignores qualitative differences among genomes. Genetic evolution involves much more than simply replacing one base with another. Thus, even among such close relatives as human and chimpanzee, we find that the chimp’s genome is estimated to be about 10 percent larger than the human’s.... [T]he tips of each chimpanzee chromosome contain a DNA sequence that is not present in humans.

I'm not a math whiz or anything but even I know that if one sentence contained 90 letters and another sentence contained only 99 letters, there is no way the two sentences are 98% similar! Just knowing that chimp DNA is longer than human DNA already proves the “98% similar” claim is false.

In what manner do scientists compare DNA and claim they are 98% similar? You could say there's a little monkey business going on. According to Nature Magazine, BLASTZ was used to align non-repetitive chimpanzee regions against repeat-masked human sequence. BLAT was subsequently used to align the more repetitive regions. The combined alignments were chained and only best reciprocal alignments were retained for further analysis. It sounds a little technical but, in simpler terms, the highly touted similarity in human/chimp DNA is essentially achieved by comparing only the most similar parts of the DNA and ignoring everything else!  When scientists do a letter by letter comparison of the entire genomes, the similarity in more like 70-80%. 

Let me just conclude by saying that, if a 98% similarity is evidence that we're related to chimps, what does only a 70-80% similarity mean?

Friday, September 9, 2016

If God made everything, who made God?

Critics are often frustrated when Christians ask them, “Where did everything come from?” They're frustrated because they really have no convincing answer. Many critics will attempt to turn the tables and ask the Christian, “Well, if everything has to come from something then where did God come from?” They ask this question intending to create the impression that Christians have a similar dilemma as atheists – namely, how can something exist without being created? They feel if Christians can believe God exists without a cause, then why can't atheists believe the universe exists without a cause?

This reminds me of a funny story I once heard.

An astronaut was speaking to a group of elderly folks about his experiences, in particular about the first time he saw the earth from space. While he was speaking, a lady interrupted him and said, “Sir, I don't know what you're talking about. Everyone knows the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle.”
Not wanting to argue with the lady, the astronaut politely asked her, “Ma'am, what do you think that turtle is standing on?”
The lady didn't miss a beat, “Why, another turtle, of course.”
The astronaut saw he was going to have to press the issue a little. “Then what is that other turtle standing on?”
The lady shook her head and said, “Sir, I see what you're doing and it's not going to work. It's turtles all the way down!”

This is what is known as an infinite regress. It's a logical fallacy where a speaker projects a causal chain of events backward without any definite point that starts the chain. If someone created God, then it must have been by some bigger god. Then who created that god? It must be an even bigger god. Then that god must have been created too, by a still bigger god. There has to be a First Cause – an infinite God who was not created.

If something exists, it must either have always existed or it began to exist. If something began to exist – like the universe – then what caused it? You can't say it was caused by another created thing because that other thing would need a cause. There has to be an eternal Creator who started it all. An infinite God creating the universe is the only thing that makes any sense. Anything else is just turtles all the way down!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Five quick arguments for the existence of God

My blog is mostly apologetics – with a little politics and theology thrown in once in a while. I try to write in such a way that I cover my points pretty well, while still keeping my posts reasonably short. It occurred to me, though, that even two, typewritten pages can contain a lot of material and if people want to use some of my points in discussions with non-believers, they might need some quick bullet-points that are even shorter and easy to remember.

To that end, I thought of what might be the five simplest, yet still effective arguments Christians could use when talking with atheists. If you remember only these five points, you'll find they'll go a long way. I tried to think of a 5-letter acronym to help remember them but nothing came to mind. If anyone has a suggestion, comment me.

1) The existence of matter and space

There is a law in science called the conservation of matter. It basically says that matter can never be created nor destroyed. You can convert matter into energy, but the net amount of matter/energy in the universe remains constant. This begs the question: if matter is not being created, where did it all come from in the first place? Logically speaking, nothing can create itself so the universe must have been created by something outside of itself. There has to be a supernatural, eternal, First Cause. I call Him, God.

2) The origin of life

Once upon a time, people believed maggots sprang out of rotting meat through a process called, spontaneous generation. Through experimentation, though, all examples of spontaneous generation were shown to be false. In every case, another living organism was determined to be the origin. In the case of maggots, for example, it was flies lying eggs on the meat. Darwin, however, stilled believed that spontaneous generation could occur in single-celled animals. That's because he believed uni-celled creatures were “simple” blobs of goo – a fortunate arrangement of amino acids. We know now that even single-celled creatures are incredibly complex. In spite of all of our efforts, we've never been able to create a living thing nor seen one rise spontaneously in nature. The true origin of life is a bona fide miracle. God created life.

3) Absolute morality

Is it wrong to lie? Is it wrong to steal? Is it wrong to rape? We all know it is but why? Among animals, we can find numerous examples of deception, cunning, or forced mating. Why are these things wrong for humans but not animals? Some people think society decides for itself what is right and wrong. If that is true, then we could hardly condemn Nazi Germany for the holocaust since that is what they thought was best for them at the time. It just seems we instinctively know that some things are always wrong but again, why? Obviously the universe doesn't care what happens. Objective right and wrong can only exist if there is a moral code that transcends human opinion. If good and evil exist at all, it is only because God exists.

4) The historical fact of Jesus

Pick any person from the past and try to prove – scientifically – that he ever lived. You will soon find it's an impossible task. When we study historical figures, we look at historical evidence. What was written down about them? In the case of Jesus, we have the gospels and the letters of Paul. We have the extra-biblical writings of historians like Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny the younger. We have eyewitness accounts of the miracles of Jesus and His promise of eternal life to those who believe in Him. We have eyewitness accounts of people who saw Him die and saw Him alive again. We have accounts of the empty tomb, the martyrdom of the apostles, and the explosion of the first century church. We have more evidence for the historical fact of Jesus than any other person of antiquity. Jesus lived, died, and rose again.

5) The lack of evidence to the contrary

This is where the rubber meets the road. You see, atheists proudly boast that they've never seen compelling evidence for God. If you run down the above four reasons why there must be a God, they will merely shake their heads and say it's not enough evidence for God. Next, they accuse Christians of believing in a god-of-the-gaps and wherever we lack scientific understanding, Christians want to just say, God-did-it. I think they have a weak argument. How can they say God didn't do it unless they can provide strong evidence to the contrary? Let me show you how this applies to the above points:
  • Point #1: Suppose I'm walking through the woods with a friend and we come across a crude log cabin. I might wonder who built it but my friend says, “No one built this. Look at all these sticks lying around here. I'm sure they just arranged themselves into the shape of a cabin – we just need to look for some natural mechanism.” Before I abandon the obvious conclusion that the cabin had a builder, my friend has to convince me that no one could build something. Furthermore, he has to convince me that his explanation is more likely than mine. You see? He has to provide evidence to the contrary of the most reasonable conclusion. I'm willing to listen but I don't think any story he could invent would convince me yet atheists believe that nothing created everything!
  • Point #2: The origin of life poses a similar problem for atheists as the origin of matter. Atheists still cling to spontaneous generation only now they call it abiogenesis. Regardless, it's still the idea that life can arise from non-living matter. What compelling argument can the atheist make that would have me reject everything we've learned up till now and consider an idea that was discarded not long after blood-letting?
  • Point #3: If atheists believe there are such things as good and bad, they need to show how they transcend human opinion. Atheists often ridicule the Bible, for example, saying that it endorses things like slavery. What makes the atheists' view of slavery more “right” than the societies who thought it was OK to own slaves? If they have no alternate, objective standard of morality, they need to stop using their personal opinions of right and wrong to criticize the Bible's standards.
  • Point #4: Atheists often attack the Person of Jesus saying He was a myth or an embellishment. They say the Scriptures are of dubious origin and have been corrupted through centuries of translating and editing. So where is their evidence for these claims? Where are the uncorrupt autographs that I can compare with our modern Bibles to see the differences? How do they impeach the testimonies of people who claim to be eyewitnesses to the miracles of Jesus – including His resurrection? What am I to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls or the thousands of Greek and Latin manuscripts? It's fine that they choose to ignore the evidence but I would ask them what other historical figures have as much evidence and which of those with less evidence do atheists dismiss as myths?
There are compelling reasons to believe in God. Atheism, on the other hand, suffers from a glaring lack of evidence. I've never heard a sound argument for why atheism is true and correct. I only hear criticisms of Christian arguments.

Atheists can say they reject the evidence for God. They just can't say why.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Will “good” unbelievers go to hell?

I was watching YouTube the other day when a self-described agnostic asked Frank Turek this question:

I generally try to be a good person but I don't believe in the Christian God. Do you think I'm going to hell?

I've seen other stuff by Dr. Turek and he knows a thing or two about apologetics so I'm sure he's heard questions like this before. I don't know why, then, he seemed to dance around the subject for 5 minutes before saying, “If you don't bow your knee to a Creator and get the free gift of eternal salvation, God will not force into His presence against your will.” I'm not sure what the venue was but the crowd seemed sympathetic to Turek, judging by the polite applause that came at the end of the clip. Some of the unbelievers commenting on the video were a little less impressed with his answer.

I'm not going to bash Turek because we've all had those times where we are put on the spot and can't articulate our thoughts well. How many times have you, after some encounter, thought to yourself, “Oh, I wish I would have said....”? But having watched the video and taking time to reflect on the question, let me suggest how I might answer it.

The Bible commands us to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). If we love this girl, we will tell her yes, if she does not accept Jesus, she will go to hell. We say this not because we want her to go to hell or because we are judging her and her lifestyle. Instead, we tell her precisely because we don't want her to go to hell. We are telling her what the consequences of her decisions will be and it should be our goal to change her mind.

Stop and think for a moment – what is the point behind asking such a question? I'm asking rhetorically because it's obvious why: the girl is trying to make the Christian seem intolerant, narrow-minded, and mean. The question commits the logical fallacy of appealing to emotion. Whether or not it seems unfair that “good” people can go to hell does nothing to demonstrate that it's not true. The question attempts to provoke a sense of outrage toward the seeming unfairness that a loving God would allow someone who tried to be good to go to hell. To not answer the question directly might make an apologist appear to embarrassed by the “unfairness” to give the obvious answer. It's exactly the kind of response the critic wants.

What if, instead, a person were to ask, “If I jumped out of an airplane at 10,000 feet without a parachute, do you think I would die?” The answer is an immediate and urgent, “Yes! A fall from that height will certainly kill you. Please tell me you aren't seriously considering doing that!” We're not judging that person; we're describing reality. It wouldn't matter if the person sincerely believed he wouldn't die from such an act, we know he would and should do everything we can to stop him. Why are we any less convicted or urgent about their decision to reject God?

The girl started her question saying that she tries to be good. I would also ask her why she thinks it's important to be good? Since she is an agnostic and not an atheist, maybe she thinks there could be eternal consequences to doing bad. Notice that she said that she tries to be good; I would ask how well she's done. Does she think it's wrong to lie, for example. If so, then has she told lies? Certainly she has. Has she ever cursed at anyone? Has she ever stolen anything – even something little? If she fairly judged herself according to things she knows are wrong, she would see herself as a lying, thieving, murderer at heart. If there are eternal consequences to our actions, isn't she worried about all the bad things she knows she has done? Wouldn't it be great to know that she can have forgiveness for her sins?

The girl asked this question to try to argue. What an opportunity such a question is to share the gospel!