Saturday, November 29, 2008

What to Say to Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses When They Knock on your Door


As my wife was preparing a wonderful (she made me write that) dinner yesterday, I heard a knock on our front door. I walk to the door and opened it to find two Mormon gentlemen who had come to share the message of the Church of Latter-Day Saints .

Upon sharing with them that I had, in the past, studied the doctrines of Mormonism and found Joseph Smith's vision account to be unsupported historically and that I had also found the Book of Mormon to be completely without historical support, the conversation quickly turned to the value of experiential evidence. One of the gentlemen shared that he had prayed the prayer suggested in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:4-5) and received "confirmation that it was true." I, in turn, affirmed the value of experiential evidence, but explained that if someone has what they believe to be an "experience" of God, that their experience must be confirmed by logical, coherent evidence to some degree. Meaning, I personally have experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ in my life and believe He rose from the dead, however, if there existed no evidence to confirm this claim from history, I would be foolish to continue to believe it. I would need to go back and re-evaluate my experience. In other words, the objective needs to work together with the experiential, otherwise, what you are believing most likely has no bearing in reality.

The conversation ended respectfully and I was able to give them a copy of a sermon on Mormonism by the late Dr. Walter Martin. I also directed them to this blog. I encouraged them to study critiques of Mormonism (what they call "anti") as well as Mormon literature, and urged them to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Upon reflecting back on this conversation, I couldn't help but feel that I could have been better prepared. One evidence of this is when I mistakenly said that the Mormons used the New World Translation of the Scriptures, full knowing that they use the KJV Bible, as interrupted through the Book of Mormon, as well as The Pearl of Great Price; Doctrine and Covenants.

As a result,
I wanted to offer the following resource by apologist and scholar Mike Licona entitled, What to Say to Mormons & Jehovah's Witnesses When They Knock on Your Door (52 pgs.) Here, Mike offers a free e-book that provides a:

" a concise yet meaty resource that goes right to the point concerning why the Mormon Church and the Watchtower are terribly mistaken."

Check it out here and let us not forget the words penned by the Apostle Peter:

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15, KJV).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Was the Resurrection Reported in the Year it Happened?


New testament scholar, Craig Blomberg, has written a blog entry about a new book written by prolific New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham.

Bauckham's forthcoming book actually argues that belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus must have emerged within about one-half year's time after the event! This has huge ramifications regarding the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Blomberg puts it well:

"But the most common skeptical alternative in recent years, that the resurrection stories are just late myths in which beliefs about Jesus' cause living on became embodied in mythological garb, simply doesn't have the decades (or sometimes centuries) needed for it to have developed the way all other ancient myths did. At some point, one has to say that it takes more faith to believe in the alternatives to the historic, Christian conviction at this point than to believe orthodox tradition!"


To check out Bauckham's argument and Blomberg's full report, click here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

"When Science Points to God"

Author and speaker Dinesh D'Souza has debated well-known atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, Michael Shermer, and Daniel Dennett.

In his recent article, When Science Points to God, D'Souza discusses the relationship between science, atheism, and a Creator. What does the scientist do when empirical data begins to suggest that a "plot" is involved in the creation of the universe?

Whether you enjoy D'Souza's work or not, the New Atheists despise him so he must be doing something right!

Check out the article here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Academic Freedom Day!


For those who are unaware, February 12th is the birth date of Charles Darwin, author of Origin of the Species, where he described biological evolution via natural selection for the first time.

Since Darwin's death in 1882, various events have taken place to celebrate Darwin's works and his contributions to the scientific community. Since the 1990s, Darwin Day has become more and more popular and is backed by numerous humanist and free thought organizations. For examples of some past "Darwin Day" celebrations, see here.

Now, the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, partnering with the "Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center" (IDEA) offers the following challenge:

"On Charles Darwin's 200th birthday (February 12, 2009), students everywhere can speak out against censorship and stand up for free speech by defending the right to debate the evidence for and against evolution. Let's make "Darwin Day" 2009 Academic Freedom Day!"

For more information, check out the following links:

For everything you need to know about Academic Freedom Day, click here.

Stand up for academic freedom, after all, Darwin himself said, "A fair result can be obtained only by fulling stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question."

Spread the word!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dallas Willard- How Does the Disciple Live?


What does it truly mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? In Dallas Willard's article, How Does the Disciple Live?, he explains what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

"As Jesus’ disciple, I am his apprentice in kingdom living. I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens as he would lead my life if he were I. It is my faith in him that led me to become his disciple. My confidence in him simply means that I believe that he is right about everything: that all that he is and says shows what life is at its best, what it was intended by God to be. “In him was life and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 NAS)

Whether you are a Christian who desires to understand discipleship better or someone who has ask, "What does it mean to follow Jesus?," I believe this article will encourage and challenge you.

For other articles by Dallas Willard, please see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake!


For those who haven't heard, the American Humanist Association has launched a $40,000 campaign against belief in God. Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C. buses starting this week and run through December.

Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group said "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion."

Edwords went on to say "the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds." [1]

First off, I have relatives and friends who don't believe the same things I do, however, we are still able to get together and enjoy each other's company during the Christmas season. Further, some of them are able to talk about Christianity and their struggles with it openly.

Second, I strongly believe that a Christian's faith in God should not only be based on experiential evidence (there is nothing wrong with this), but also, as Mr. Edwords put it, "rational thought and critical thinking."

The irony of the AHA's campaign can be found within the very text they have chosen for their signs: "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake!" In the past, Truthbomb has presented a few articles dealing with the moral argument for the existence of God that can be viewed here and here.

For this specific topic however, we offer an article from philosopher Norman Geisler, Can Atheists Justify Being Good Without God?, where Dr. Geisler explains why the text selected by the AHA actually points to the very God they deny. We encourage you to check out the article.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resource:
1) 'Why Believe in a God?' Ad Campaign Launches on D.C. Buses, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,450445,00.html, November 12, 2008.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Scepticism about the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm"



Dr. William Lane Craig, philosopher and Christian apologist, has debated numerous individuals on various topics- the resurrection of Jesus, the existence of God, Christianity vs. Atheism, and much more.

Dr. Craig also has an excellent website entitled Reasonable Faith that includes numerous resources such as articles, pod casts, and a question/answer section.

This week's question was posed to Dr. Craig by a theistic evolutionist who is skeptical of his (Dr. Craig's) view of macroevolution. As someone who is currently studying the Intelligent Design/Darwinian Evolution debate, I found Dr. Craig's answer to be thought provoking.

Check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

G.K. Chesterton, Philosophy, and Evolution

It has been well said that, "Science is a slave to philosophy." In Lita Cosner's article, G.K. Chesterton: Darwinism is ‘An attack upon thought itself,' the author demonstrates how Chesterton's arguments regarding evolution, science, and morality apply just as much today as they did during Chesterton's life time.

The following is a short excerpt:

"Chesterton was able to see how the ideas in his day might affect thought in the future, and argued against what he saw the consequences of such flawed ideas to be. It is revealing that in nearly a century since he penned his arguments against evolution and Darwinism, those same arguments are as relevant today as they were in the early 20th century."

To check out some of Chesterton's other key arguments, see here.

If you are interested in learning more about Chesterton and his literary works, please see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Great Debate- Intelligent Design and the Existence of God


Scientist James Tour has moderated a debate between agnostic David Berlinski and atheist Dr. Bradley Monton who argued for Intelligent Design and theologian Denis Alexander and physicist Lawrence Krauss who argued in favor of Darwinian Evolution. Another debate addressing the same topic will take place tonight.

I wanted to point out that this debate clearly challenges the idea that only religious fanatics and bible-thumping creationists believe that Intelligent Design has any merit to it. Undoubtedly, this will prove to be an interesting exchange of ideas.

To read more, see here.

More information regarding ID forthcoming!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

IDEA: Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center


Few debates are as intense as the one that exists between those who advocate Intelligent Design and those who hold to Darwinian Evolution. Regardless of where you stand in this debate, it's important to understand what those who advocate Intelligent Design actually hold to or believe.

The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center (IDEA) seeks to "promote intelligent design theory by educating people about intelligent design in a non-threatening and non-dogmatic manner."

The IDEA center is a wonderful place to get answers about Intelligent Design and the science behind it. We encourage you to checkout the following:

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross