Hagerstown Christian Church and Truthbomb Apologetics will be presenting an apologetics event entitled "God on Trial" this coming weekend at Hagerstown Christian Church.
Information is as follows:
June 21, 2013 7-8:30 pm- God on Trial: Does God Exist?/Q and A
June 22, 2013 7-8:30 pm- Investigating the Resurrection of Jesus/Q and A
June 23, 2013 10:30 am -12:00 pm- Is it Fair to Claim that Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven?
Styled after J. Warner Wallace's outstanding book Cold Case Christianity, on the first night the audience will examine circumstantial evidence to decide whether or not it is reasonable to conclude that God exists.
On the second night, the audience will visit the ancient death scene of Jesus of Nazareth and the available evidence to determine whether or not Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead.
Finally, on Sunday morning, we will examine Jesus' claim that He exclusively is the way to heaven.
If you are a seeker of truth or a Christian who wants to better understand how to defend your faith, this event is for you!
The cost is free and free resources for further study will be available!
There is no doubt that the number of different religions in the world makes it a challenge to know which one is correct. First, let’s consider some thoughts on the overall subject and then look at how one might approach the topic in a manner that can actually get to a right conclusion about God. The challenge of different answers to a particular issue is not unique to the topic of religion. For example, you can sit 100 math students down, give them a complex problem to solve, and it is likely that many will get the answer wrong. But does this mean that a correct answer does not exist? Not at all. Those who get the answer wrong simply need to be shown their error and know the techniques necessary to arrive at the correct answer.
How do we arrive at the truth about God? We use a systematic methodology that is designed to separate truth from error by using various tests for truth, with the end result being a set of right conclusions. Can you imagine the end results a scientist would arrive at if he went into the lab and just started mixing things together with no rhyme or reason? Or if a physician just started treating a patient with random medicines in the hope of making him well? Neither the scientist nor the physician takes this approach; instead, they use systematic methods that are methodical, logical, evidential, and proven to yield the right end result.
This being the case, why should theology—the study of God—be any different? Why believe it can be approached in a haphazard and undisciplined way and still yield right conclusions? Unfortunately, this is the approach many take, and this is one of the reasons why so many religions exist. That said, we now return to the question of how to reach truthful conclusions about God. What systematic approach should be used? First, we need to establish a framework for testing various truth claims, and then we need a roadmap to follow to reach a right conclusion. Here is a good framework to use:
1. Logical consistency—the claims of a belief system must logically cohere to each other and not contradict in any way. As an example, the end goal of Buddhism is to rid oneself of all desires. Yet, one must have a desire to rid oneself of all desires, which is a contradictory and illogical principle.
2. Empirical adequacy—is there evidence to support the belief system (whether the evidence is rational, externally evidential, etc.)? Naturally, it is only right to want proof for important claims being made so the assertions can be verified. For example, Mormons teach that Jesus visited North America. Yet there is absolutely no proof, archaeological or otherwise, to support such a claim.
3. Existential relevancy—the belief system should address the big questions of life described below and the teachings should be accurately reflected in the world in which we live. Christianity, for example, provides good answers for the large questions of life, but is sometimes questioned because of its claim of an all-good and powerful God who exists alongside a world filled with very real evil. Critics charge that such a thing violates the criteria of existential relevancy, although many good answers have been given to address the issue.
The above framework, when applied to the topic of religion, will help lead one to a right view of God and will answer the four big questions of life:
1. Origin – where did we come from? 2. Ethics – how should we live? 3. Meaning – what is the purpose for life? 4. Destiny – where is mankind heading?
But how does one go about applying this framework in the pursuit of God? A step-by-step question/answer approach is one of the best tactics to employ. Narrowing the list of possible questions down produces the following:
1. Does absolute truth exist? 2. Do reason and religion mix? 3. Does God exist? 4. Can God be known? 5. Is Jesus God? 6. Does God care about me?
"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." - Colossians 3:21 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." - Ephesians 6:4 Courage and Godspeed, Chad
“All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that's my job...And I'm prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legends or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I've read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people, and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.” Courage and Godspeed, Chad HT: Always Be Ready Ministries
Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of the grounding breaking intelligent design book Signature in the Cell, has a forthcoming book entitled Darwin's Doubt. In this brief video (1:04), Dr. Meyer discusses just what Darwin's doubt was.
In this featured article, Robin Schumacher tells about a conversation he had with an atheist: "An atheist that I was dialoging with last week tried to support his disbelief in Jesus through the use of the “Spiderman fallacy”, which is a contrived argument that has been defined in the following way by Urban Dictionary:
Archaeologists 1,000 years from now unearth a collection of Spiderman comics. From the background art, they can tell it takes place in New York City. NYC is an actual place, as confirmed by archaeology. However, this does not mean that Spiderman existed.
Often used to illustrate the flaw in the assertion by evangelical Christians that archaeologists unearthing biblical cities today "proves" that the Bible was written by a supernatural force.
The Spiderman Fallacy is committed any time the discovery of a mundane element from a myth, legend, or story is taken to mean that ALL other parts of that story, even the supernatural, are also true."
Schumacher goes on to explain why he believes it's a mistake for atheists to use this argument.
If one desires to arrive at the truth, clear thinking is a must. In this featured article, Aaron of Apologetic Junkie explains how to identify a self-defeating statement and demonstrates how to deal with twenty of the most oft-repeated ones. This one tactic can revolutionize your ability to demonstrate the flaws in someone's thinking. However, remember to do so with gentleness and respect.
1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence. 2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. 3. The universe exists.
When one claims that premise 1 is true of everything in the universe, but is not true of the universe itself, they are guilty of the "taxicab fallacy." Meaning, they are claiming that everything in the universe has an explanation, but that the universe itself does not.
"...as the nineteenth-century atheist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer quipped, premise 1 can't be dismissed like a hack once you've arrived at your desired destination! You can't say everything has an explanation of its existence and then suddenly exempt the universe." 
Courage and Godspeed, Chad Footnote: 1. William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 57.
In a five part Haven Today radio series, Dr. Michael Guillen, a theoretical physicist and former science correspondent for ABC News and Harvard physics professor, talks about how there is no vast void between science and faith and how science was the very thing that lead him to faith in and love for God.
Regarding the relationship between science and faith, he states:
My science and my faith live hand in hand. They lift each other up! They don’t tear each other down! Don’t talk to me about a gulf! Don’t talk to me about science demolishing religion! Science and religion are both products of God’s creation. They are both beautiful.
Regarding how science lead him to God, he says:
The fact the beauty of the universe is more than skin deep; the fact that science expanded my mind to believe in things that were even more far out than God; the fact that science taught me that there is a single truth...opened my eyes to God.
I remember when I first heard about the debate between scientist Francisco Ayala and philosopher William Lane Craig in Nov. of 2009. After learning of Ayala's credentials (Ayala has been called the "renaissance man of molecular biology"), I honestly didn't know how Craig would fair against such an eminent scientist. Ayala's credentials, awards and accomplishments spoke for themselves. While Craig had never debated or published anything on biological arguments from intelligent design, Ayala had published 930 papers and 30 books mainly dealing with evolutionary biology. To top all that off, in 2001 he was awarded the 2001 National Medal of Science.
Intriguingly, the debate was moderator by Bradley Monton, an atheist who actually defends intelligent design as science!
Craig and Ayala respectfully crossed swords on issues such as:
the history of science
optimal design vs. sub-optimal design
the limits of evolution
what Dr. Craig called the "extrapolation" of macro-evolution
the interaction of science and theology
If you have not watched or listened to this one, you should!
"Arguments can bring you closer to faith in the same sense that a car can bring you to the sea. The car can't swim; you have to jump in to do that. But you can't jump in from a hundred miles inland. You need a car first to bring you to the point where you can make a leap of faith into the sea. Faith is a leap, but a leap in the light, not in the dark."
In this featured article, philosopher Peter S. Williams addresses some of the problems in Lawrence Krauss's latest book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing. Williams writes: "Krauss spends most of his book redefining ‘nothing’ in terms of increasingly incorporeal somethings (from ‘empty space’ to reified ‘laws of physics’), as if this justified the conclusion that literal nothingness could be the cause the cosmos. That’s like arguing that since its possible to live on less and less food each day it must be possible to live on no food." You can checkout the rest of the article here. We have added this article to our "Responses to Notable Skeptics" page located here. Further, you can listen to or watch Dr. William Lane Craig debate Dr. Krauss here. This debate was very entertaining and the only debate I remember listening to when someone actually removed their shirt... Courage and Godspeed, Chad