Monday, August 29, 2016

Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong

In the subject article, Ryan Anderson of The Heritage Foundation summarizes a new report on sexual orientation and gender identity recently published.  Here are the four vital conclusions from the report:

  • The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.


  • Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.


  • Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.


  • Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.
You can read Anderson's full article here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bart Ehrman on the Earliest Christian Claims about Jesus

"The idea that Jesus is God is not an invention of modern times, of course...it was the view of the very earliest Christians soon after Jesus's death."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts 

Quote: Bart Ehrman on the Post-Resurrection Appearances

Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament

Common Objection #14- "Jesus' Disciples were Uneducated and Illiterate."

Footnote:
1. Bart D. Ehrman, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (New York: Harper One, 2014), 3 as quoted by Nabeel Qureshi in No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, p. 275.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Thinking Series by Andy Steiger of Apologetics Canada

Recently, I was looking for some good online resources as I prepare to assist with teaching students in my church's youth ministry.

I was fortunate to come across the Thinking Seriesby Andy Steiger of Apologetics Canada.  The series provides short animated videos and discussion cards that can be used to help facilitate interaction.  I look forward to looking more into the content and providing these resources to young people to assist with challenging questions they may be facing or asking to themselves.

Below is the video from session 2 entitled "Does God Exist."  Also, please check out the discussion card that are available as well.




Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why Can’t God Just Forgive Us? Part 2.

Real Love is a Personal Exchange


Why can’t we just concentrate on teaching about how God is a God of love? The answer is that if you take away the cross you don’t have a God of love.

In the real world of relationships it is impossible to love people with a problem or a need without in some sense sharing or even changing places with them.

Think…of emotionally wounded people. There is no way to listen and love people like that and stay completely emotionally intact yourself. It may be that they may feel stronger and more affirmed as you talk, but that won’t happen without you being quite emotionally drained yourself. It’s them or you. To bring them up emotionally you must be willing to be drained emotionally.

John Stott writes, “The essence of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We…put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God…puts himself where we deserve to be.”

If that is true, how can God be a God of love if he does not become personally involved in suffering the same violence, oppression, grief, weakness, and pain that we experience? …only one major world religion even claims that God does.

To understand why Jesus had to die it is important to remember both the result of the cross (costly forgiveness of sins) and the pattern of the cross (reversal of the worlds values). On the cross neither justice nor mercy loses out – both are fulfilled at once. Jesus death was necessary if God was going to take justice seriously and still love us.

From The Reason for God, Chapter 12, The (True) Story of the Cross, by Timothy Keller.


Don’t take my word for it, read the book, don’t wait for the movie.


Have a little hope on me, Roger

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What is the Difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims?

Taken from gotquestions.org here:

The main difference between Sunnis and Shias lies in their interpretation of the rightful succession of leadership after the death of the prophet Muhammad. The declaration of faith to which all Muslims assent is this: There is no God but Allah, whose prophet is Muhammad. However, the Shiites add an extra phrase at the end: and Ali is the friend of God. Because the Shiites passionately attest to Ali being the successor to Muhammad, much feuding and division have been caused in the world of Islam, not unlike the feuding between Protestants and Roman Catholics in Europe during the Reformation. However, the schism that sets up the major sects of Islam is not due to doctrinal issues, as between Protestants and Catholics, but is grounded in the identity of the “true successor” to Muhammad.

Among the close disciples of Muhammad was Ali, his son-in-law, who was most familiar with his teachings. However, when Muhammad died in A.D. 632, the followers bypassed Ali, whom the Shiites claim as the rightful successor to Muhammad. Instead, a cousin of Muhammad’s third successor, Uthman (A.D. 644-656), called Mu’awiya Umayyad, declared himself caliph. When he died in A.D. 680, his son Yazid usurped the caliphate instead of Ali’s youngest son, Hussein. The feud between rightful successors or caliphs was fought at the battle of Karbala. Hussein was slain, but his sole son, Ali, survived and continued the line of succession. Yazid, however, gave rise to the Ummayad line of succession, from which modern-day Sunnism arose.

As for their beliefs, both Sunni and Shia Muslims agree on the five pillars of Islam. While the Sunnites honor Ali, they do not venerate their imams as having the gift of divine intercession. Sunnites conduct community prayers and believe they can have a direct relationship with God. Of the two, Shiite Muslims have a burning desire to engage in martyrdom and believe that suffering is a means of spiritual cleansing. They dwell on the martyrdoms of Ali and Hussein, especially over the ten-day period of Ashura. Also noteworthy is the veneration that Shiites give to the imams, believing they are endowed with infallibility in their interpretation of the Qur’an. In many ways, this mirrors the way the pope is venerated in Rome.

In terms of actual practice, the Sunni Muslims pray five times a day: the fajr, the zohr, the asar, the maghrib and finally the isha (“darkness”). Shia Muslims only pray three times—morning, lunchtime and sunset. Another important difference between the two sects is that Shia Muslims permit fixed-term temporary marriage, known as muttah. Muttah was originally permitted at the time of the Prophet and is now being promoted in Iran by an unlikely alliance of conservative clerics and feminists, the latter group seeking to downplay the obsession with female virginity which is prevalent in both forms of Islam, pointing out that only one of the Prophet's thirteen wives was a virgin when he married her.

Iran is overwhelmingly Shia - 89 percent. Shia Muslims also form a majority of the population of Yemen, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and 60 percent of the population of Iraq. There are also sizeable Shia communities along the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in Lebanon. The well-known guerrilla organization Hezbollah, which forced the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in 2000, is Shia. Worldwide, Shias constitute 10 to 15 percent of the overall Muslim population, but they make up the majority of the radical, violent element of Islam.

For more great resources, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

7 Characteristics of a Mature Thinker

Over the years I have had the privilege to interact with people of various beliefs, backgrounds and disciplines.  This has allowed me to observe and identify characteristics that I believe those that are "mature" in their thinking consistently put into practice.  These are characteristics that I desire to emulate and incorporate into my own thinking and work.

Mature thinkers:

1. represent opposing views fairly and charitably.

2. don't overstate their case.

Their conclusions are humble and they let the evidence speak.

3. attack the argument and not the individual making the argument.

4. acknowledge when there is a weakness in their case or argument.

5. can admit when they are wrong.

6. know when to continue a discussion and when to end a discussion.

7. can acknowledge when someone that holds an opposing view makes a good point or argument.

What do you think of my list?  Are there any that you would add?  Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

William Lane Craig on What Makes for a Good Argument

What I've Learned from Blog Comments

Logic Primers from Apologetics 315

Saturday, August 20, 2016

J. Warner Wallace on Sharing Your Christian Convictions Online

"If you’ve ever interacted with hostile atheists online, you’ve probably been frustrated at times and wondered if your efforts were worthwhile at all. At times like this I try to remind myself of the three reasons anyone “shuns” a truth claim; many of us are committed to our position for other than rational evidential reasons (that’s true for everyone, including Christians). It’s important to see your efforts to reach the opposed as a baseball game rather than a tennis match. The goal isn’t points, it’s advancing people around the bases. You’re not alone on the court, you’ve got help on the field. I’m not always trying to hit home runs with people who disagree with me. Instead, I am simply trying to be faithful to my Master, reflect his image, and leave people with something to think about."

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad