Live blogging from the Innovative Church Network meeting at Atlee Community Church. The speaker today is Mike Licona, an apologist – that is, somebody is “concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity.” It’s absolutely fascinating to hear from somebody whose primary focus in life is to help establish formative foundational evidence for faith in Jesus. There’s a great resource here as well
Some of those most powerful take-aways from today’s talk:
You can make up for being average when you have a strong desire and passion for something.
An ignorant culture will be slaughtered by their ignorance outside of the church bubble.
We have to defend our faith firmly and confidently, but with gentleness and respect.
Early biographies of Mohammed indicate that Islam and it’s earliest followers used force and violence.
Historical evidence points to Jesus’ resurrection and is therfore a good basis for the truth of Christianity.
Licona debated Bart Ehrman regarding the veracity of the claims of Christ in an attempt to expose the idiosyncratic view of history held by this extremely influential individual. He prepared for 5 1/2 months, 50 hours a week for the first debate. Licona acknowledges that apologetics is not just an intellectual effort but a spiritual battle.
Historians can establish with certainty that Peter, James and John were martyred for their faith due to reliable historical sources.
In starting dialogue with someone about faith issues:
With an atheist, establish if it’s an evidenciary issue or one of the will. “What would it take to convince you?” Looking at the resurrection of Jesus is a defining issue for truth; there is excellent historical evidence for this event.
With the problem of evil (probably the strongest argument against Christianity) and the sheer volume of senseless evil, look at Plantinga’s Free Will Defense: God cannot do logically contradictory things. He cannot create a square circle, or a married bachelor, or do the square root of blue. These are logically incoherent. Thus, God cannot create a world of free beings, all of whom choose to do right, all of the time. Free will necessitates choice, and at least some will choose sin. His only other option would be to create a world without free will, which would be inconsistent with the true nature of love.
If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
If objective moral values do not exist, there is no basis to call something ‘evil’.
If there is no basis to call something evil, the entire basis of the existence of evil disproving the existence of God is worthless.
Personal interaction with atheists often indicate, rather than disbelief, an intense anger or injury regarding the church or Christians.
Starting the conversation with someone who has been disappointed by God requires listening. Christians are “knuckleheads” more than they should be, and often cause problems that lead others towards a form of atheism.
You can’t judge a philosophy by its abuse. Stalin was an atheist – but that doesn’t stop atheists from identifying with him. In an atheistic reality, there are no rules, so Stalin and other dictators did not break any rules. However, Christian leaders HAVE “broken the rules”.