Apologetics (keep staying tuned for more...)

What is Apologetics?

  1. Apologetics (from the Greek apologia: a defense) is that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith
  2. Primarily a theoretical discipline though it has practical application. It asks the question: What rational justification can be given for the Christian Faith?

How is Apologetics Used?

  1. Loving God with your mind
  2. Acts as a confirmation to the believer’s faith
  3. Shows truth to unbelievers
  4. Reveals and explores the Christian worldview and helps you test ideas for validity and truth

What Good is Apologetics?

  1. Shaping Culture
    • The gospel is never heard in isolation. It is always heard against the backbone of the cultural milieu in which one lives
  2. Strengthening believers
    • Nothing inspires more confidence and boldness than knowing that one has good reasons for what one believes and answers to common questions/objections
  3. Evangelizing unbelievers
    • When apologetics is combined with a gospel presentation/personal testimony, the Spirit of God condescends to use it in bringing certain people to himself

Knowing vs. Showing Christianity to be True

  1. Knowing Christianity to Be True
    • Role of the Holy Spirit
    • Role of Argument and Evidence
  2. Showing Christianity to Be True
    • Role of Reason

Arguments (stay tuned for elaborate explanations)

Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

  1. Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause
  2. If the universe has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is God
  3. The universe exists
  4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1,3)
  5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God (from 2,4)

Kalām Cosmological Argument

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
  2. The universe began to exist
  3. Therefore the universe has a cause

Kalam Cosmological Argument - Details

Teleological Argument

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance
  3. Therefore, it is due to design

Teleological Argument - Details

Moral Argument

  1. If God does not exist, objective morals do not exist
  2. Objective morals exist
  3. Therefore God exists

Moral Argument - Details

The Resurrection of Jesus

There are four established facts which constitute inductive evidence for the resurrection of Jesus:

  1. After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in the tomb.
  2. On the Sunday morning following the crucifixion, the tomb of Jesus was found empty by a group of his women followers.
  3. On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
  4. The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every reason not to. Thus, the sudden spread of Christianity.

Evolution and Christianity

First off, I don't think evolution and the belief in God is incompatible. For all we know, God could have used evolution as a process to create life. But on the other hand, why believe that he did? All the book of Genesis tells us is that God was responsible for the beginning of the universe and life. I do not deny the theories of evolution entirely, but I do however, think that due to the lack of physical evidence in support of evolution, evolution needn't necessarily be accepted as an explanation to life as we know it.

Evolution basically means "change over time". And nobody disagrees with that. There are two components to evolution: common ancestry and the mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection.

Common ancestry states that all-life forms evolved from a single primordial ancestor. However, the fossil records show the complete opposite. Even Darwin himself recognized the fact that no organisms stood midway between other organisms as transitional forms. Well you might say "O we just haven't unearthed these transitional fossils yet". But theoretically, there should be millions of of these showing in the fossil records. But there are just none! Think for example of how many intermediate forms there would need to be for a bat and a whale to have evolved from a common ancestor. But the evidence doesn't show that.

With regards to genetic mutation and natural selection. I do not deny that these events happen, but to believe that we have arrived at the biological complexity that we have today from merely these mechanisms is ridiculous. First of all, the processes are too slow. In the book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle Barrow and Tipler list ten steps in the course of human evolution each of which is sooo improbable that before it could occur, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence of star and incinerated the earth. So if this is true, why think intelligent life evolved by chance on this planet?

A second problem is that they can not explain the origin of irreducibly complex systems, which are highly complicated, biological machines that can not function unless all the parts are there and functioning. Thus, these machines can not evolve one piece at a time. An example would be the eye. As you can see, evolution fails to explain this phenomenon.

Lastly, Christians are NOT necessarily committed to believing in special creationism. Please keep in mind that this is NOT a retreat from modern science. In the 300s (1500 years before Darwin), Saint Augustine in his commentary on Genesis states that the 6 days of creation needn't be taken literally nor the creation of the world be only a few thousand years ago. Again, all Genesis is telling us that God created the universe and life.


A Problem with Divine Foreknowledge and Free Will

Let's look at the most popular example, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. So if Jesus knew and predicted that Judas would betray Him, did Judas still have a choice? Those that say no commit the following error in their logic.

The apparent argument goes as follows:

  1. Necessarily, (If P, then Q)
  2. P
  3. Necessarily, Q

Or

  1. Necessarily, if Jesus knew Judas would betray him, then Judas would betray Jesus
  2. Jesus knew Judas would betray him
  3. Necessarily, Judas would betray Jesus (no free will)

This argument is known as a modal fallacy involving one of the modal logic laws, modus ponens. Consequently, this argument does not follow logically and is therefore fallacious. The corrected form of the argument is:

  1. Necessarily, (If P, then Q)
  2. P
  3. Q

Before we explain the error in the modal fallacy, let me explain the concept of necessity. "Necessarily" implies that the proposition be true in "all possible worlds" (every possible situation/case/scenario). All we are doing in (1) is setting up a condition that (2) and (3) must be confined to. (1) In every possible scenario, if P, then Q. (2) In one situation, P. Then (3) Q.

So another way to look at the modal fallacy is this:

  1. In every possible scenario, if Jesus knew Judas would betray him, then Judas would betray Jesus
  2. In our scenario, Jesus knew Judas would betray him
  3. So in every possible scenario, Judas would betray Jesus (no free will)

Now here lies the error. From (1) and (2), it only follows that Judas would betray Jesus, not that he would do so necessarily as the above argument states. So it would be erroneous to conclude (3). We could, however, change (2) to "In every possible scenario (necessarily), Jesus knew Judas would betray him" so that the argument follows logically to conclude (3). But even so, we know this wouldn't make any sense because the traitor did not HAVE to be (necessarily) Judas. Or in other words, in all possible worlds any one of the other disciples could have betrayed Jesus. It's just that in this particular scenario, the traitor was Judas.
Here's another way to look at it. (1) does not state that Jesus knew Judas would betray him. All (1) states is that "if Jesus knew Judas would betray him, then Judas would betray. But in all possible worlds, any one of the disciples could have betrayed Jesus. So (1) can still hold even if one of the conditions played out to be Matthew who betrayed Jesus. But in our world (2), it was Judas.

Now let's look at the corrected form of this argument

  1. Necessarily, if Jesus knew Judas would betray him, Judas would betray Jesus
  2. Jesus knew Judas would betray him
  3. Judas would betray Jesus

Thus, the necessity of Christ's accurate prediction, does not necessitate Judas' betrayal. Judas did not HAVE TO betray Christ. He ultimately made the choice to betray Jesus.

To conclude: God, who is timeless, knows what choices we will make, but we still have the free will to choose.

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